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Not Everyone Can Be A Carer

By Laurie Hilsgen

The case of the Hawkes Bay woman found guilty today of failing to provide the necessaries of life for her 82 year old Mum raises lots of issues for families, health professionals, and society. 

Jo-Ann Quinn (51) was her Mum Maureen's sole caregiver, an arrangement made with her seven siblings and which appeared to work well for a time. 

The (Sorry) Case Of Pupil A

This week marks World Autism Day—and just in case you miss it, there’s a dedicated Autism Month to follow—in which people affected by the still-baffling condition and try to shine a light and promote greater acceptance for all affected by it. 

Hopefully, it will be a month in which a relevant saga close to home might be settled without the prolonged stress that has characterised it to date. 

The Men of Atalissa

For decades, a group of men with intellectual disabilities seemed happy living and being cared for in a small Iowa town. 

Set aside 40 minutes, if you have them, for the story of what happened when their neighbours found out the truth. And a hanky. (And an extra minute to applaud the reporters from the New York Times who compiled this brilliant video report.)

Half A Night At The Movies

And so to the family lounge, where my wife and I spent part of last night taking a break from wine and conversation and in the company of the DVD player and a rented copy of A Separation, the much-lauded Iranian film of 2012 that for various reasons we never got around to seeing at the time of its release.

And Then There Are None

By Laurie Hilsgen

So this is how it feels. Mum warned me it would happen.

Despite the much touted ageing population, one by one my upper layer of family is disappearing. 

Of 18 including my father, only two remain. 

Of my mother's family of 10, none survives, all dying considerably younger than their parents (Granddad made it to his 90s, Grandma to 101).

Burmese Daze

Carers come in all shapes, sizes and circumstances — and apparently ages.

Faifax Media reported today on the, shall we say, regrettable story of a Burmese refugee who fled his war-torn country only to be struck down by a medical oversight in New Zealand. 

Khua Kam Thang Nawl has lung cancer, but for months was prescribed paracetamol rather than cancer treatment.

Caring For The Skateboarders

Talk about a picture being worth a thousand tears. 

English carer Clare Lally thought one of her worries had been addressed: the local council had provided a house for her and her wheelchair-bound daughter. 

But there was a problem, three flights of them out front, to be exact, which made it very difficult for the family to access their home. 

So the 33 year old mother complained, and complained, and finally the council came to the party.

Sort of.

The finished product cost $80,000.

The finished product came complete with 10 ramps.

Older Men Are More Likely To Be Carers

Without wishing to get into the familiar media trap of freighting British statistics directly into the New Zealand situation, some data published today in the Guardian offers interesting, and slightly disturbing, antipodean food for thought. 

According to Christine Milligan, the director of the Centre for Ageing Research at Lancaster University, older men are more likely to be carers than women.

One For The Carer's Cookbook

My next column for the magazine is all about meals, specifically some of the food issues one faces when caring for an autistic kid.

One of the things the column doesn’t get around to mentioning is the upside of being somewhat housebound because of caring—at least for me—which has been the (re) discovery of cooking, and finding cost-effective recipes that are a bit interesting and different as well.

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