Anyone at any time can be a carer. Taking on a caring role is a significant event.
The rewards of caring
People who care for a family member or friend say there are many rewards:
The opportunity for personal growth and the development of new skills.
Proving to yourself that you can meet new challenges.
The satisfaction of knowing you have you have helped someone who needs you and done the best you could to improve their quality of life.
Strengthening the relationship with the person you care for and knowing how much they appreciate your help.
Receiving the acknowledgement of your family and friends.
Challenges of caring
Caring can be very demanding and often restricts the lives of individual carers and their families. We advocate for practical reforms that will help protect carers from the problems too often associated with caring.
- 50% of primary carers are on a low income and many find it hard to cover living expenses, save money or build up superannuation.
- The extra costs of caring can be enormous. Caring families often have to find money for extra expenses like heating and laundry, medicines, disability aids, health care and transport.
Health and wellbeing
- Caring can be emotionally taxing and physically draining. Carers have the lowest wellbeing of any large group measured by the Australian Unity Wellbeing index.
- Carers often ignore their own health and are 40% more likely to suffer from a chronic health condition. Some health problems, like back problems, anxiety and depression, can be directly linked to caring.
- Many carers are chronically tired and desperately need to refresh with just one night of unbroken sleep, a day off or an extended period with no caring responsibilities.
Social isolation and relationships
Many carers feel isolated, missing the social opportunities associated with work, recreation and leisure activities.
The demands of caring can leave little time for other family members or friends.
Carers often have to deal with strong emotions, like anger, guilt, grief and distress, that can spill into other relationships and cause conflict and frustration.
Many carers miss out on important life opportunities, particularly for paid work, a career and education.
Caring can take the freedom and spontaneity out of life.