Being a carer is often not a choice

Anyone at any time can become a carer: National Carers Week will run from Sunday, October 13 to Saturday, October 19 this year.

Anyone at any time can become a carer: National Carers Week will run from Sunday, October 13 to Saturday, October 19 this year.

A carer Anne said, "Full time care was required for my baby boy shortly after birth. Patrick is now in his 40s and still needs many hours of support each day - as a carer you really are on duty 24/7.

"Being a carer is often not a choice; life circumstances put you there and what keeps you going is knowing that the care you give your loved one is making a big difference to their wellbeing.

"We care for our loved ones every single day with little or no respite, no work cover or superannuation and our role is not recognised to the extent it should be.

"My life has been greatly influenced by my son Patrick, he has taught me humility, compassion, patience and through the need to gain better services and recognition for people with a disability."

National Carers Week, an initiative of Carers Australia, is about recognising and celebrating the outstanding contribution that unpaid carers make to our nation.

This year, National Carers Week will run from Sunday, October 13 to Saturday, October 19.

There are over 2.7 million family and friend carers in Australia providing 36 million hours of care and support every week to a family member or friend who has a disability, mental illness, drug and/or alcohol dependency, chronic condition, terminal illness or who is frail.

The replacement value of that unpaid care is over $1.1 billion per week.

National Carers Week is an opportunity to educate and raise awareness among all Australians about the diversity of carers and their caring roles.

Consistent with previous surveys on carers:

  • They are typically a female primary carer between 45 and 64 years, educated beyond high school and not in paid work
  • The typical care recipient was an adult son, aged 18 to 64 years, with a physical disability, only able to be left alone for a few hours and requiring 60+ hours per week of care
  • About half of respondents (53 per cent) were living on a household income of less than $50,000 per year, and 40 per cent reported difficulty in meeting their living expenses in the past 12 months
  • About half of respondents provided 60+ hours of care per week, and almost one in three carers had been caring for over 20 years

Carers, who are most likely to be included in decision making and support planning when accessing services for the people they care for, are less likely to be asked about their own needs.

Events and activities are held for carers during National Carers Week. Tell your story on the website - visit the Why We Care page.

We can all help carers by helping to raise awareness this National Carers Week by hosting a fundraiser tea or workshop.

One in eight employees is in a caring role so have a look at Carers Australia's Work & Care information for a carer-friendly workplace at carersweek.com.au

See carersweek.com.au