Life as a young carer by Anthony

Hey guys, my name is Anthony and I am 19 years old. I live in the Liverpool area in South West Sydney. I care for my younger brother, Michael, who has a mixture of Autism and Global Developmental Delay. I have been looking after Michael since I was a toddler.

My caring role consists of assisting him with his daily routines/activities and developing approaches so he can become more independent. Michael loves it when we spend time together, for example: reading a book, having lunch at the park and taking him for drive with music in the background.

My hobbies include writing my own hip hop lyrics, playing a range of sports like basketball and Hapkido (a Korean Martial art), hanging out with family and friends, and getting involved in Aviation. I also tutor high schoolers in my local community with their mathematical problems.

Do you have any tips for other young carers?

Whilst spending time with Michael, one of the major lessons I have learnt is the value of patience and persistence. There will be times where nothing goes your way, but just stick to it and eventually things will fall into play. Remember, “Don’t put it off till tomorrow, because tomorrow never comes!”

I tend to find that taking a break during a busy day gives me the boost to get back up and keep going. This can mean talking to a friend, going for a run, or just kicking back and watching a movie. Think of it more like a regenerative ability to relax, before you fight/work again.

But the most important thing of all, is attitude – a positive attitude. I find that it helps me to view a particular situation more optimistically, and invites a clear head and rational thinking into the decision-making process. At the end of the day, it’ll make your life easier and more enjoyable.

What is the biggest challenge about being a young carer?

The most challenging part about being a young carer is trying to fit in. I rarely have the opportunity to hang out with friends, or to have friends to come over; mainly due to the fact that I generally have more responsibilities than most people my age. I’ve had to cancel a lot of events and miss out on opportunities because it doesn’t suit with my timetable at home.

What’s harder is the inability to explain this situation to others as they are either unfamiliar or don’t care about it. Sometimes it’s just easier to let these things pass and move on to the more important things in life. 

What is the best thing about being a young carer?

The best thing about being a young carer would be learning new skills and discovering hidden talents I never knew I had. Sometimes it takes a difficult situation or unusual circumstance to bring out the best in us.

Furthermore, I value my family and the time I spend with them more due to the fact that life is fairly short and we have to enjoy what we have, instead of regretting what we don’t have.

“We are not defined by our circumstances. Rather, we are defined by the way we react to and learn from our circumstances.” – Susan Wilking Horan

If you’re 25 or under and care for a loved one, you can find out more about the Carers NSW Young Carer Program by visiting the website or Facebook page.

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Carers NSW acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land, Elders past and present and all Aboriginal people.