National Carers Week is dedicated to recognising and celebrating the contribution of Australia’s 2.7 million unpaid carers. Being a carer can be a challenging role, so it’s important to know that you aren’t alone and that there are support services available to help.
According to statistics from Carers Australia, the work of unpaid carers would cost Australia $60.3 billion per year if every carer decided to give up their caring role. A figure that equates to more than $1 billion per week.
So whether you are experiencing carer’s fatigue or just need a helping hand to help balance your role as a carer with other aspects of your life, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Here are some ways you can access support.
Government support for carers
Carer Gateway is the Australian Government’s national online and phone service that provides practical information and resources to support carers.
As well as answering questions on carers payments, there is a wealth of information here on how to access the support and services you need. Carer Gateway can also put you in touch with carers support groups, service providers and tips for looking after your health and wellbeing.
Carer support organisations
There is a national network of carers organisations with a presence in each state that can offer advice and support at a local level.
In Queensland, Carers Queensland offers a range of support services for carers including:
- Mental health resources
- Information and advisory service
- Support groups
- Guardianship and advocacy advice
Carers Queensland is also a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) delivering courses to help carers to convert their caring experience into a nationally recognised qualification.
How home care can provide support for carers
Getting support delivered to your home doesn’t just benefit those receiving that care – it can provide much-needed respite and support for family carers as well.
While caring for your loved one’s daily needs can feel like your responsibility alone, getting support in to help can free you up to stay engaged with other areas of your life such as your career, hobbies and social life.
Home care services can help assist with:
- Personal care such as showering and grooming
- Transport to appointments
- Domestic assistance including cleaning and meal preparation
- Social support
To organise home care services, start by visiting My Aged Care to organise an ACAT assessment for your loved one. It is worth noting there is currently a waiting period for home care packages, with approximately 130,000 people on the national home care package waiting list. Current wait times can be anywhere from nine to more than 12 months depending on the level of care required. If you are even thinking about the need for more support, it’s a good idea to start the process now rather than waiting for a crisis situation to hit.
Getting in the aged care system can also open up opportunities for respite and short term care to allow you to book in holidays and schedule time for yourself.