Care for a carer during Carers Week

Care for a carer during Carers Week

Posted October 1, 2010

Grace is a family carer. She cares for her husband and likes to make his life comfortable.

Grace's day starts with getting her husband out of bed seeing that he eats his breakfast and administers his medication. After bathing and dressing her husband Grace says she likes to seat her husband "in his favourite chair by the window, where he can enjoy the view of the garden."

Grace's husband has required full time care, since receiving injuries in a car accident seven years ago. Since this time Grace has not been able to undertake paid employment. Grace says, "Caring is a very personal thing, and no-one except the carer knows what is truly involved, mentally, physically, emotionally and financially - it can be very demanding on many levels"

Grace is one of Australia's 2.6 million family carers providing unpaid care and support to family members and friends who have a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness or who are frail. [1]

Grace's husband receives a disability support pension, and Grace receives a carer paym1ent and carer allowance however, after paying for her husband's medication, taxi services to and from medical appointments, there is not a lot of funds left for life's little luxuries. Grace would enjoy having a part-time job; she is a nurse by profession. "I would like to work for the social interaction as well as the sense of purpose, and, of course the extra money would also be good," she said.

Carers are often socially isolated and face difficulties participating fully in the workforce. On average, carers' gross personal income is more than 25 per cent lower than non-carers. For almost half a million carers, the difference is even greater at more than 40 per cent. [2]

It is very important that people are able to identify what they do as caring, when people recognise themselves as carers they are better placed to seek carer supports and services.

Carers Week 2010, Anyone anytime can become a carer will be held from 17-23 October and aims to raise awareness of carers and the invaluable contribution they make to society and the community.

It is estimated that Australia's family carer provide 1.2 billion hours of unpaid care annually, the replacement value of which is estimated at over $30.5 billion. [3]

Carers Week is an initiative of Carers Australia and is funded by the Department of Health and Ageing.

Carers Australia is the peak national body representing the diversity of Australians who are family carers. For further information on carers and carer supports and services go to www.carersaustralia.com.au.

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1 Australian Bureau of Statistics (2004) Summary of findings: 2002 ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, Canberra.
2 Holland, KE (2008) Draft Report Carers' Perspectives on Caring: A qualitative analysis of open-ended responses to the Carer Health and Wellbeing Index Survey 2007, Canberra.
3 Access Economics (2005) The Economic Value of Informal Care, prepared for Carers Australia, Canberra.

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