Faces of Caregiving – Australia
When Alf and Margaret Davies married in 1975 at the age of 25 and 20, little did they know that only four years later, Margaret would be diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)d
Pins and needles in her feet and the loss of the use of her hands were the first signs of the devastating diagnosis. Childhood sweethearts from the age of 14, they have now been married for 43 years and for the past 15 years Alf has been caring for Margaret.
In the early days, the symptoms were manageable and they were fortunate to be able to raise a family of three boys.
Margaret is now unable to walk and has been in a wheelchair for the past 10 years.
Every day Alf gets Margaret out of bed, helps shower and dress her, makes all the meals and does the food shopping.
Margaret suffers from muscle spasms, has difficulty sleeping, her left hand doesn’t work, her right hand is weak, she has no balance and she can’t roll over in bed.
“It’s very frustrating for Margaret being unable to do things and unable to walk and cook, but thankfully we get some help from the government with some funding and home care and physio on Margaret’s sore back, so I guess we are doing better than some people in a similar situation,” says Alf
“Obviously we would have preferred for Margaret to have enjoyed good health throughout her life, but we make the most of our situation and enjoy each other’s company and stay in regular contact with our sons and grandchildren, some of whom we look after for a couple of days a week.”
“It’s getting harder for me to transfer Margaret into the car to get out and about and we are hoping to get funding for a wheelchair accessible car or van as that would make our lives a lot easier.”