The Examiner published an article on October 15 2020 – 6:30AM
Tasmanian carers reconnect to discuss challenges COVID-19
By Jessica Willard
Image – HELP: Emilie Cortez-McCall, of Mowbray, has been a caring for her husband for more than a decade. Picture: Neil Richardson
Heroes hidden in plain sight – this is how Tasmania’s more than 85,000 carers have been described.
For Emilie Cortez-McCall, who has been caring for her husband for more than a decade, the role has become part of her daily life.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not difficult and lonely at times.
Ms Cortez-McCall was among a group of carers who came together in Launceston on Wednesday for some comedic relief in the form of one-woman play Who Cares?
The production is being held as part of Carer’s Week and also served as an opportunity for many to re-connect, after months of isolation.
Ms Cortez-McCall husband was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis in 2008. The condition causes inflammation in the lower spine.
At the start of the pandemic, the family had to lock-down their home to protect themselves against the virus.
“In the beginning we were definitely feeling a little bit worried,” she said.
“More about what it would mean if one of us got it [COVID-19]. We really isolated ourselves … just to be careful. Now I’m just happy that it’s not here.”
Carers Tasmania chief executive David Brennan said many carers had been forced to take on additional responsibilities throughout the pandemic, often foregoing helpful services to protect the ones they care for.
As her husband gets older and his condition more complicated, Ms Cortez-McCall said she had accepted her role as a carer would likely become more challenging.
“We are going to have our 25th wedding anniversary in November, so he is still the same person that I met a long time ago,” she said.
“Caring for him, it’s a part of my life so I have learnt to accept it.
“But not everyone has that. I know a lot of people who care for their families, who need a lot of support.
“We need organisations like this [Carers Tasmania] because it does help connect us all.”