Peter and Me: When a love story becomes a carer's anguish
When a love story becomes a carer’s anguish They first met when Helene was 18 years old. Together for nearly 40 years, this is the story of their relationship through Peter’s intense last four years involving 24/7 care, the impact of a horrible illness and a shameful and ad hoc health system. It aims to give a voice to isolated and exploited carers, especially those in private homes, and to expose fundamental issues about humanity and failed systems. It calls for and it calls a Royal Commission inquiry and a ‘bipartisan’ Parliamentary response to produce viable solutions.
Helene Ritchie was Wellington’s first female deputy mayor and is currently the capital’s longest serving city councillor. In those roles, she has successfully championed many social justice and environmental issues. She led the nuclear weapon free status of the Capital and the major Wellington civic centre project. A registered psychologist, she has, as an elected member of the Health Board, campaigned to significantly upgrade mental health hospital facilities. The greatest challenge, she faced, however, was as ‘carer’ of her husband Peter who died in 2001 from a chronic and degenerative illness.