As it is National Carers Week, we wanted to highlight the importance of carers around Australia.
Carers are phenomenal people who provide unpaid care to their family and friends to support them to continue living well at home.
They play an integral part in Aged Care as they assist family members, friends, partners, neighbours or loved ones and are key to that person’s care circle. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) around 1 in 10 Australians are informal carers, the majority of which are unpaid.
While many older Australians benefit from the support of care workers through programs such as the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP), a Home Care Package (HCP) or privately funding their care, for many they also rely on the additional support of informal care services.
What does a carer do?
A carer may assist the person being cared for with any activities that are part of their daily living.
This may include assisting with dressing, lifting, showering, toileting, feeding, or providing transportation.
Medication management is also a common responsibility for carers, as well as emotional and social support. Organising and attending appointments, dealing with emergencies, and banking can also be part of their role.
Why are carers important in Aged Care?
Carers play an important role in Aged Care, due to the informal and consistent support they provide many older Australians. Due to various factors, such as COVID-19, aged care staffing shortages and more, many older Australians reliance on their unpaid carers has increased in recent years.
Carers are important as they form the circle of care around older Australians, working hand in hand with paid support workers to provide holistic support.
Support workers can provide unpaid carers with respite services, to help alleviate some of the weight of caregiving.
How many carers are in Australia?
There are over 2.65 million carers across Australia, out of those, 861,000 are primary carers meaning they provide the most support to their loved ones.
7 out of 10 primary carers are women and more than half of the primary carers provide at least 20 hours of care a week.
However, it is thought that the number of carers could be a lot more due to the lack of awareness around what a ‘carer’ really means.
What benefits are unpaid carers entitled to?
Although carers provide unpaid care to those they care for, if they meet specific requirements, they could be entitled to a number of benefits.
You must be providing constant care for one of the following:
- Someone who has a severe disability or illness.
- Someone who is old and can no longer look after themselves.
- 2 to 4 children younger than 16 whose needs equal 1 child with severe needs.
- 1 or 2 children younger than 16 and 1 adult whose needs equal 1 child with severe needs.
To find out more about receiving support, you may click here to learn more.
What is National Carers Week?
National Carers Week is a weeklong event held every year in October.
During this time, carers around Australia are celebrated for all the hard work they do in order to provide support to people in our communities.
Due to the large number of carers in Australia, it is likely that we all know, need or are a carer ourselves.
According to statistics from the 2022 Carer Wellbeing Survey, roughly 55.2% of carers have low wellbeing.
The theme for this years National Carers Week is ‘Millions of reasons to care’, putting emphasis on helping carers feel supported and acknowledged for all the hard work they do.
Here are four ways you can make a difference to a carers life:
- Ask about them, not just the person they are caring for.
- Listen to them without judgement.
- Make yourself available to help assist them.
- Always reach out first, don’t wait for them.
It can be hard for carers to prioritise themselves when they are responsible for looking after someone else, therefore showing you care means a lot.
Caregiving situations are unique to each person and there are millions of reasons someone might become a caregiver.
In some cases, caregiving responsibilities are inherited, such as the responsibility of caring for an ageing parent.
On behalf of the myHomecare Group, we want to thank every caregiver for all the work they do to improve the lives of those around them.