Oct 18, 2022

Unpaid carers deserve support and recognition

18_10_22 carers week

During National Carers Week, running from 16 – 22 October, people are encouraged to show their appreciation to Australian carers with a recent research survey revealing that many carers don’t feel appreciated or supported in their role.

Carers New South Wales has released a survey that found unpaid or informal carers in Australia provided 2.2 billion hours of unpaid care in 2020 – a value estimated at $1.5 billion per week – and despite this huge contribution, they feel unsupported. 

The survey results saw around half of the carers who responded were experiencing high or very high psychological distress, and felt highly socially isolated and financially stressed.

Through this year’s National Carers Week theme, ‘Millions of Reasons to Care’, and the release of this new report, the organisation hopes to broaden the communities understanding of the caring role, increase carer identification and provide the community with more reasons to care about carers.

Carers NSW Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Elena Katrakis, said it was vital to address the problems informal carers face. 

“Despite COVID-related service interruptions, widespread natural disasters, and an ever-changing service landscape, carers have persevered,” she said. 

“These are extremely concerning results that need to be urgently addressed.”

The Carers NSW survey also found almost half of the number of carer respondents were responsible for caring for someone 24/7 and a large number of them reported not being asked about their own needs when accessing aged care and mental health services with or on behalf of the person they cared for.

Similarly, the majority of participants identified as female and lost an average of $392,500 in lifetime income due to care commitments.

Ms Katrakis encourages all carers to take some time out for themselves over this special week.

The 2022 National Carer Survey was conducted by Carers NSW with the support of the other State and Territory carer organisations and an expert reference committee including carers, service providers and academics from several universities.

Organisations and Government thank carers across Australia

With over 2.65 million informal carers living in Australia, National Carers Week acknowledges and celebrates the contribution carers make to Australian society with many organisations and Government sending out their words of appreciation.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese shared his support for National Carers Week with Carers Australia, highlighting the importance of this week 30 years after its foundation. 

“We know and appreciate the rewards of caring can come at a high personal cost,” he wrote in a specialised Carers Week Message From The Prime Minister. 

“Back in 1992, the theme of the first Carers Week was ‘Carers Need Care Too!’. 

“Thirty years later, it’s still so relevant to Australia’s 2.65 million carers.”

The National Ageing Research Institute also took to social media to say they were celebrating the advocacy week, and wrote they “acknowledge and appreciate the substantial contributions they make to our lives, communities, and our national economy”.

Dementia Australia CEO, Maree McCabe AM, encouraged carers looking after people with dementia to reach out for support if they need it. 

An estimated 1.6 million Australians care for someone living with dementia and Dementia Australia tries their best to support these carers. 

“While being a carer can be a rewarding experience, it also has many challenges and that’s why it’s so important for carers to have someone to call for help, support, to answer questions, and direct them to the appropriate services,” she said.

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  1. What happened to the notion that family cared for family?
    If these people feel poorly about themselves then there are care options and they could join the work force and hopefully feel better about themselves. Personally I think caring for a family member is reward enough. It isn’t anything to do with the government or dipping into taxpayer money.
    Let’s have a little self dignity, if you resent the person that you are caring for and feel they are holding you back then use the options available and jog on.

    1. Do you care for a Love One. ? I think your comment lacks empathy for those who do. It is one if life’s greatest challenges, and Dementia is a cruel and heartless disease. As one watches and cares for a loved one losing themselves and their memories. It is heartbreaking. And as a Family Carer I know how hard and soul destroying it is. To all Care Givers, My love and appreciation for ever.

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