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Support for Carers in Australia

By Dr Jocelyn Lowinger

Carers provide emotional, social and financial support to their friends, family and loved ones who have a disability, illness or frailty due to age.1

Caring for a loved one can be very rewarding, but it also has emotional and physical challenges.2 As such, it is important for carers of all ages and backgrounds to make sure they look after themselves.

 

The information on this page can help carers find the practical and emotional help and support that they need:

 

Advisory, counselling and respite services for carers

  • The Carer Advisory Service provides advice on access to specialised information and services, including respite, counselling and carer support groups. This service is available in a range of languages—Arabic, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Croatian, Dinka, Greek, Hindi, Khmer, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. Call 1800 242 636 for more information.3
  • The National Carer Counselling Program is run by Carers Australia and provides short-term counselling services for assistance with the coping skills necessary for committed care. Contact your State and Territory Carers Association for details or call 1800 242 636.4
  • The National Respite for Carers Program supports and encourages carers of older Australians and those with disabilities to take time out from their caring role. For information call 1800 052 222.5
  • Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres provide information on carer support, disability and community services. Contact your nearest Centre on 1800 052 222.6

 

Different types of carers:

  • Young carers: Young people who care for a relative or friend often find the experience very rewarding, but they can also be at risk of high levels of stress and worry, missing out on schooling and further studies, or neglecting time with time with friends. However, there are many great resources for young carers to help with stress management and looking after themselves.7
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Carers: Around one in eight people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background are carers—a percentage far higher than that of the non-indigenous population.8
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Carers: Around one-third of Australia’s carers are thought to come from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background. A range of culturally-specific services are available for carers from a CALD background through the State and Territory Carer Associations.9
  • Working carers: Many carers are also working as well as caring for a friend or loved one. Specific services for helping to manage your employment and look after yourself are available from the Working Carers Service Directory.10

Financial assistance

For information on financial assistance for carers see the Department of Human Services Website.

 

Further reading about carers and their needs is available at:

 

Jocelyn is a doctor and professional health and medical writer with 20 years’ experience in the health industry. She has extensive experience in a range of approaches to improving the delivery of healthcare such as clinical governance, quality use of medicines, and developing high-quality health communications for consumers and health professionals.

References

  1. National Carer Strategy. Commonwealth of Australia 2011. Available at http://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/06_2012/national_carer_strategy.pdf Accessed 21 September 2014.
  2. Caring for someone. My Aged Care. Commonwealth of Australia 2014. Available at http://www.myagedcare.gov.au/caring-someone Accessed 23 September 2014.
  3. Carer Advisory Service. Carers Australia 2012. Available at http://www.carersaustralia.com.au/how-we-work/national-programs/carer-advisory-service/ Accessed 23 September 2014.
  4. National Carer Counseling Program. Carers Australia 2012. Available at http://www.carersaustralia.com.au/how-we-work/national-programs/national-carer-counselling-program/ Accessed 23 September 2014.
  5. National Respite for Carers Program. Commonwealth of Australia. Available at http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/Publishing.nsf/Content/ageing-carers-nrcp.htm Accessed 23 September 2014.
  6. Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres. Commonwealth of Australia 2013. Available at http://www9.health.gov.au/ccsd/index.cfm Accessed 23 September 2014.
  7. Young Carers. Carers Australia 2014. Available at http://www.youngcarers.net.au/resources-and-links/ Accessed 23 September 2014.
  8. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Carers. Carers Australia 2012. Available at http://www.carersaustralia.com.au/about-carers/aboriginalandtorresstraitislandercarers/ Accessed 23 September 2014.
  9. Culturally and linguistically diverse carers. Carers Australia 2012. Available at http://www.carersaustralia.com.au/about-carers/culturally-and-linguistically-diverse-carers/ Accessed September 23 2014.
  10. Working Carers Gateway. NSW Family and Community Services. Available at http://www.workingcarers.org.au Accessed 21 September 2014.