A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to family members and friends with a disability, mental illness, chronic health issue or an older person with care needs. They are parents, children, partners, other relatives and friends who assist with a variety of personal care, health care, transport, administrative support, cognitive emotional tasks, household chores and other activities.
Who can be a carer?
There are over 2.65 million carers in Australia, 726,600 of them are Victorians - that’s 11% of the population. Carers come from all walks of life, cultures and religions. They may be spouses, parents, sons or daughters, siblings, friends, nieces or nephews or neighbours. Some are only 10 years old while others are nearing 90. Caring can happen to anyone, anytime.
How do people become carers?
People become carers in different ways.
Sometimes it happens gradually - helping out more and more as a person’s health and independence get worse over time. It may also happen suddenly - after a health crisis (like a stroke or heart attack) or an accident.
It's not uncommon for carers to feel that they don’t really have a choice. Even in large families the responsibility of providing care is often left to one person rather than being shared.
Many carers feel that it is what they should do.
What do carers do?
Every care situation is different.
Some carers provide 24 hour nursing aid to a family member with high care needs. They help with daily needs and activities like feeding, bathing, dressing, toileting, lifting and moving and administering medications.
Others care for people who are fairly independent but may need someone to keep an eye on them or help with them with tasks like banking, transport, shopping and housework.
Most carers give comfort, encouragement and reassurance to the person they care for, oversee their health and wellbeing, monitor their safety and help them stay as independent as possible.
Carers help their family members to have a good quality of life.
Who do we support?
The word ‘carer’ can be confusing. Many carers don't use this word to describe themselves and it can sometimes be difficult to know whether we are the right organisation to help you.
We can help if you provide unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who is frail and elderly, has dementia, a mental illness, a disability, chronic illness or complex needs, or receives palliative care.
- You do not need to live with the person you care for
- You do not need to be the main source of care and support
- You do not have to provide care every day or over many years
- You do not have to receive the Carer Payment or Allowance from Centrelink
Contact our advisory line on 1800 514 845 if you have any questions about our services or about other supports available to you.