It is National Carers’ Week from 16 October to 23 October, a time to pay tribute to the many thousands of carers who provide unpaid care and support to family members and friends who have a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness, an alcohol or other drug issue or who are frail aged.
Carers are an integral part of Australia’s health system and are the foundation of our aged, disability, palliative and community care systems.
Caring may include help and support in any of the daily activities of the person being cared for. It may include physical and personal care and assistance such as dressing, lifting, showering, feeding or providing transport.
Commonly, carers are responsible for the management of medications. Carers provide emotional, social or financial support. Caring may also involve helping the person they are caring for to be organised, reminding them to attend appointments and dealing with emergencies.
Australia has over 2.8 million carers, 12% of the population. The chances are you personally are a carer, need a carer or know a carer.
ABS surveys and other sources have shed light on carers in Australia. By better understanding carers’ characteristics and demographics, we are better able to advocate on their behalf and provide advice to support them.
Young carers are people up to 25 years of age who care in families where someone has an illness, a disability, a mental health issue or who has an alcohol or other drug problem.
More than 300,000 of Australia’s carers are young carers, with 150,000 under 18. The person they care for may be a parent, partner, sibling, their own child, relative or friend.
Many young carers emphasise that caring is a positive experience. However, research clearly indicates that, when inadequately supported, their own health, mental health and wellbeing can be seriously affected.