Supporting Others: Relationships View all

Are you a young carer?

Advice and ideas for young carers, developed with guidance from Young Carers NZ!

Supporting Others

Whose Life Is It?

By Dr Maree Todd

A geriatrician’s caring journey with her parents has been a professional eye-opener.

I have been working with older people and their families for 20 years. Over this time I have seen the love, dedication and frustration experienced by family caregivers.

My own journey supporting my father, Russell, and his adventures with our health system, have left me in no doubt where the strengths and weaknesses are! On the same day, Dad could experience the best and the worst treatment possible.

Supporting Others

Staying Connected with Family in Residential Care

How can you stay close to loved ones who need residential or long-term care? Here are ideas from Lorraine Pollock, who manages Bupa’s Winara facility in Waikanae.

Supporting Others

A Never Ending Love Story


When Isobel Reed married Alfred Hamish Reed in 1899, she inserted the word 'cherish' into her vows in place of the traditional obey. It was a vow she was always to keep. By Katherine Findlay

Supporting Others

Carer Story: A Different Road

ColourfulFlowersAn extract from Shirley Jamieson’s memoir A Different Road.

Caring For You

Caring For Your Precious Older Pet

Like us, our furry and feathered friends may need extra help as they age. By Diana Noonan

When I was younger and cycling my way around Britain, I once spent a wet Yorkshire night holed up in a cosy barn in the company of a 53 year old donkey named Flossy. She had no teeth but happily dined on a delicious bran mash that her adoring owners had lovingly mixed for her. Years later, as I acquired pets of my own, I often thought of Flossy and the commitment we humans make to our animal companions, especially in their senior years.

Supporting Others

Double Vision!

Melda and Graham Townsley work as a team to ensure that Graham retains his independence and quality of life despite his worsening vision. By Sara Rogers

Melda Townsley believes a bang to the head during a car accident several years ago hastened the deterioration of her husband Graham’s eyesight. But neither she nor Graham have let this restrict his independence.

Supporting Others

Carer stories: Polio Then + Now

PolioThen+NowTwo Family Care readers share their inspiring stories about living with, and caring for a family member with polio. 

Edith Morris contracted polio as a child, and like many New Zealanders who lived through the epidemics, now has Post Polio Syndrome.

And we’re sure you’ll enjoy Judy Walker’s touching tribute to her parents and memories of supporting her Mum, who contracted polio as a newlywed in 1952.

Supporting Others

Carer Story: We’re All Going on a Summer Holiday!

The annual family post-Christmas vacation to Whangamata was the event of the year. Five weeks of sunshine, endless hours of boogie boarding, fish and chips with the town’s entire seagull population for company and, after dinner, ice cream walks inevitably ending with an unbalanced Bubble-O-Bill falling off the stick. By Lauren Hitchin

This truly was the time of year our whole family looked forward to, and it has to be the setting for this article about my childhood with Beefy, my eldest brother, who has an intellectual disability.

Supporting Others

Forward Thinking

Putting support plans in place for yourself or others will ensure uninterrupted care if there is an emergency. By Sarah Wale

All of us over a certain age or who live with serious health or disability needs give passing thought to what would happen if we were unable to look after ourselves. Some of us need to think more deeply about this possibility because others rely on our support; advance planning is crucial to ensure ongoing care for them if we can no longer provide it.

Supporting Others

Interview: Dame Fiona Kidman

Hear an interview with Dame Fiona Kidman as she talks about the the joys and difficulties she experienced when supporting her elderly mother.

Supporting Others

Young Carer Story: Nerd + Beefy

University student Lauren Hitchin is one of nearly 10% of 15 to 24 year old Kiwis who support an ill, elderly, or disabled friend or family member.

“NERD”, a man yells at full volume down the crowded supermarket aisle.

I carry on shopping, emulating fellow customers’ polite disregard. “NERDY,” the man tries again, projecting his voice even louder. Shoppers begin to crane their necks, trying to locate the source of the loud voice, as I become unusually absorbed in the ingredients on a packet of pasta.


Caring For You

A Dad's Story: Helping Kids Adjust to Grief and Change

HeartSprinklesAfter caring for wife Kathryn at home for several years, Ian Wilson of Taumarunui reluctantly accepted the need for residential care. Ian shares his advice for other couples adjusting to this big change, and how to support grieving children. 

Caring For You

Young Caring: Supporting Mum

CookiesBy Marylynn Maloney Boyes. 

Childhood memories wash over Marylynn when she does the laundry. 

Keeping up with the family washing was just one of the chores that fell to Marylynn when her mother, who experienced mental illness, was unwell or away having treatment.

Caring For You

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Live With Hope!

BoardwalkBy Joy Turner 

When our youngest daughter Jo fell asleep in class at high school, we had no idea it was the beginning of a difficult journey of more than 10 years. 

Jo was diagnosed with a glandular fever-like illness, but as her list of symptoms increased, she fell further and further behind at school. Despite her best efforts, Jo had to leave school after Sixth Form.

Caring For You

Carer Story: Saying Goodbye To Leona

riverStonesBy Elizabeth Paske, Mary Potter Clinical Manager 

Leona and I were closer than sisters. We'd gone through all kinds of major events together: deaths, divorces, kids, job changes ... life. Then Leona was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was only 44.

It spread to her lungs, liver, and brain.

Bouts of chemotherapy brought intermittent periods of life with some quality but, when Leona was 54, the cancer took over.

Caring For You

Family Care Agreements: Sort Out the Financial Details Upfront!

FingerFamilyWhen Andrew* shifted in with his elderly parents, he gave little thought to the impact this might have on his retirement, midlife earnings, or ability to afford a home of his own one day. 

Supporting Others

Carer Story: Coming Home


By Charmeyne Te Nana-Williams 

I clearly remember the night in October 2002 when Peter collapsed from a subdural haematoma.

He had rung earlier that evening to tell me he had won his boxing match and was New Zealand's Super Heavyweight Boxing Champion!

Caring For You

Advice: Talking to Children After a Tragic Event

If a traumatic, scary event takes place, even miles away or far on the other side of the world, today’s technology and media can bring it right into a child’s home, and, in graphic detail. For some children, this can be extremely distressing. They may react in a wide range of ways to the anxiety, fears or distress the event may cause them. Every child is different.

Most children’s key concern usually is: Will this happen to me - or to people that I know and care about? This question lets you know what they need the most – a sense of safety and reassurance.

Caring For You

A Father’s Story: Living With Eliot

Living with Eliot is a column in Carers NZ’s Family Care magazine, written by Eliot’s Dad, author and commentator David Cohen. In it he explores issues of interest to parents of children who have special needs.

It’s a graceful lull of a Sunday afternoon here in Wellington, and I'm going to start the first of these brief accounts of a carer’s life before the business week proper kicks in tomorrow.

Caring For You

Advice: Keep Tempers Cool Over Summer!

Summer is a wonderful time with lots of sun, visits to the beach, BBQs, and family gatherings. But often our family get-togethers don’t quite go as planned, resulting in frayed tempers and possibly disappointment. Relationships Aotearoa has put together some great advice and tips to help you and your family have as happy and relaxing time as possible when spending time together.

Supporting Others

Health Genealogy

FingerFamilyWe often look at a newborn baby and marvel at how he has his grandmother’s eyes or her father’s chin, but we don’t typically wonder what else may have been inherited from past generations. By Francie Smith.

Past Clues

Caring For You

Balancing Relationships In Later Life

Balancing relationships can be tricky at the best of times, no more so than as we age. 

Relationships Aotearoa has a series of articles on relationships in later life. Topics include:

  • Adapting your relationship to life after work
  • Intimacy
  • Keeping balance in your reltationship in times of ill health
  • New relationships
  • Violent and abusive behaviour

These informative articles tackle these issues in a very positive and easy to understand way.

Caring For You

CaringBridge: Bringing People Together During Any Health Event

CaringBridgeCaringBridge is a free service friends, whānau, and family can use to stay in close touch during any type of health event. 

Carer Story: Roses and Silverbeet Among the Daisies

HarcourtFamilyEnjoying flowers from their garden is an everyday treat for Dame Kate and Miranda Harcourt - literally, because a vibrant garden is a central part of their Wellington home, and metaphorically, because it symbolises how they work, share and laugh together as mother and daughter. 

The Harcourts used to live a more conventional life.

Supporting Others

Middle Age Spread

CoupleHoldingHandsIt’s the typical mid life sandwich: ageing parents on one side, growing kids on the other, you spread thin in the middle and feeling the squeeze. Here is advice from Relationships Aotearoa. 

Your parents are getting older. They’re starting to need you more. You find yourself feeling sad and responsible. Your kids still absorb all the time and energy you can spare. You feel worn out.

Supporting Others

Advice: Supporting Elderly Parents

ClipBoardHow will you know when your elderly parents need more help?

This can be a difficult issue to gauge, especially if you don’t live within an easy distance to your family. A needs assessment is the formal gateway to ensure your elderly relatives are receiving the various forms of support they should be.

Supporting Others

Caring for Nana Balloon

NanaBalloonWhen 80 year old Phyllis died, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren each tied a bright, helium-filled balloon to her casket.

Phyllis' nickname was ‘Nana Balloon' because she loved to give them as gifts to her grandchildren.

Supporting Others


How Carers NZ can help

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