Posted by Kambala
Humanity – We make a positive difference in our world and serve others with empathy, honesty and care.
The Kambala School Values of Humanity, Courage, Curiosity and Respect transcend a girl’s school years and act as a foundation for life beyond the school gates. As an Old Girl, I have found humanity and courage pertinent to my own journey as a campaigner for carers’ rights.
I became a carers advocate when my mother developed dementia in 2012. During the subsequent years I cared for her (until her death in August 2018) I experienced frustration with the bureaucracy involved in trying to access a Home Care Package for my mother. Currently, thousands of Australians are on this waiting list.
My circumstance as a full-time, unpaid carer necessitated I postpone my career, jeopardising both my health and financial security. I developed a strong belief that there should be better support for carers. The absence of adequate support is, I believe, a humanitarian crisis – one largely overlooked by policy and lawmakers. The recent Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety shined a light on approximately 30 per cent of aged care. A larger percentage of Australia’s sick and elderly are looked after by carers at home, not in a hospital or respite environment. It is these people that are overlooked by the Royal Commission.
In April 2018, I met with the Prime Minister’s Office to discuss my Carer Strategy. I was delighted to see one of my ideas come to fruition a few months later with the announcement of a $38 million investment into dementia research by the then-Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. The same year, I also spoke at the Royal Commission Round Table for Aged Care and I am currently seeking support for my National Carers Card Petition to provide carers who are not on a pension with discounted services (such as public transport and reduced admission costs for leisure activities).
The role of carers is critical. Not only do they provide at-home care for an ageing population, but they also save the government vast sums of money. We are profoundly lucky to be part of a community like Kambala, with its visible culture of care. It is for this reason I am passionate that Australia set a benchmark supporting its carers and protecting their health and financial security.
About the Author
Deanna Mastellone ’77 is a Kambala Old Girl whose dream is to become a goodwill ambassador for carers with the United Nations.
Kambala is an exceptional and dynamic place of learning where girls are intellectually curious. To learn more about learning at Kambala, download our Prospectus.