THERE is little help for elderly people and their families struggling to remain in their own homes.
That is the view of Upper Orara's Fay Rollans and her family, who have been caring for 94-year-old Aleatha Rollans.
The family do not want to put their mother, mother-in-law and grandmother into institutional care but are feeling the strain of trying to cope at home.
Aleatha Rollans, who is frail and increasingly forgetful, lives in her own home in Coffs Harbour.
Her grandson Peter Rollans is her full-time carer and her family, who live in the country, try to give Peter a break on weekends, because his job is more than a full time one.
Mrs Rollans puts herself to bed at 3pm and then gets up in the middle of the night, so even when Peter is sitting at the computer, he has a monitor so he can jump up at a moment's notice.
The Aged Care Assessment Team has agreed with the Rollans family that Aleatha and Peter need respite and have assessed Aleatha as qualifying for 14 hours of care a week.
But only two hours is available, because of the shortage of government-funded care 'packages' available.
"The elderly are the most needy, they deserve respect and the love of people," Fay Rollans said.
"It is hurting a lot of people who are silent," Fay Rollans said they had had great support from the ACTIP team at the Coffs Harbour Health Campus, who had been caring and compassionate and had provided them with great support for six weeks after Aleatha had surgery, but Peter Rollans said medical and nursing staff grappled with the challenges of communicating with patients with dementia, who may say they are able to carry out tasks they cannot actually do.