Mat Bertrand is originally from Canada and had moved to Australia when he was 22 and was doing well over her and had a girlfriend and a really good career. When he was 26 back in Canada his mum was a full-time carer for his dad who had lung cancer. Then his mum at age 55 got sick with Encephalitis which affected her brain function and very suddenly not only needed care for herself but also could no longer care for his dad. Mat being an only child was the only person who could take on this role. He had no choice but to fly back to Canada to care for them whilst working remotely and still having his girlfriend in Australia. His mums condition meant that her behaviour would often mimic that of a child so she would do things like try and run away and she also went through phases of schizophrenia. Mat would care for them all day and then work at night. During this time his dad also had 11 rounds of pneumonia.
Eventually he was able to bring them to Australia where we cared for them here and they live a great life her in Australia until his father died. When his father died his mum’s visa became invalid, so she had to go back to Canada where she still lives now. He still has to care for her to an extend but obviously not in the same way and her condition had improved massively. Mat now has a since month old baby with his now wife who was with him throughout all of this. Mat talks about his own experience with caring for his parents, and how that has impacted him and his family although he says that he doesn't doubt that decision at all.
New research released to coincide with National Carers’ Week (10th - 16th October) reveals one in three (30%) Australians have cared for either a family member or friend, with two-thirds (61%) having only stepped up as a carer because no one else would. Sadly, the research carried out by Developing Australian Communities reveals that taking on a caring role has a significant personal impact. One in two (47%) admit the ability to live their own life is impacted and a further third (32%) say it impacts their own health.