May 1, 2015

Caring for the Carer

Hayley Carter, Communication Manager, Carers Australia Queensland

When a loved one becomes ill, the person caring for them is often overlooked. But caring for a family member or friend who has a chronic or terminal illness comes with its own stresses. Carers are more likely to suffer with anxiety or depression than non-carers; they often become socially isolated, and the financial impact of caring, particularly where a carer has to reduce working hours or leave work altogether, cannot be overlooked.

Believe it or not, there are more than 2.7 million carers in Australia alone. That’s a staggering 1 in 8 Australians providing unpaid care to a loved one who has either a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness or who is frail or elderly. Carers can, and do, come from all walks of life – young, old, parent, spouse – anyone can become a carer at any time.

The good news is that there is support available for carers. There are carers associations in each state representing carer interests. Your local association will provide a number of support services for carers, including:

Carers Advisory Service: A telephone helpline open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm. The Carer Advisory Service is
a service providing information, support, planning and referral advice to help carers in their caring role. It is often the first point of contact a carer will have with their local carer association. Call 1800 242 636.

National Carer Counselling Program: Provides counselling and related emotional support services for carers. Counselling is provided by qualified, professional counsellors. Assistance may be provided on a one-off basis or over several counselling sessions. The types of counselling available include telephone, face-to-face and group counselling.

Carer Support Groups: These offer carers social and emotional support, an opportunity to share information and ideas and time out for carers.

If you are a carer and need support don’t hesitate to contact your local carers association today. Phone 1800 242 636 or visit their website www.carersaustralia.com.au/about-us/contact.