THE story of Yvonne Graham and her disabled son, David, highlights the plight of thousands of Australian families (”Who is left to take the load when a lifelong carer dies?”, The Age, 22/11).
These are the families who, decades ago, gave birth to a disabled child. They have struggled, largely unsupported, to raise their child to adulthood.
Where other civilised democracies provide supported accommodation to give their families a well-earned retirement, Australia looks the other way and demands that these ageing parents carry on their caring role unto death.
They continue, trapped in a situation that is often not of their choosing, bound to their disabled middle-aged person for whom no place exists in the lucky country. Then, like Yvonne, they die, leaving their person bewildered and traumatised because no gradual transition into supported accommodation has been made. This is our most pressing social equity issue, our greatest moral challenge and our deepest shame.
Nothing, but nothing, is being done to rectify the situation.
Estelle Shields, Denistone East