Published on 17 June 2023

In The News - Event Celebrates Unpaid Carers

UNPAID carers from around the region enjoyed a high tea at Bendigo All Seasons Resort on Wednesday.

Bendigo Times by Sophie Founé

One of the attendees was Cherie Sandwith who cares for her 34-year-old daughter who has a mental health disorder.

Ms Sandwith said she was happy with the level of support available to unpaid carers such as herself.

“We have a good support worker that helps us,” she said. “She lives with me, so it’s constant. It’s a mental strain, I think, more than anything, the caring.

“It really helps to be out and to talk to people who get what you say, who are going through the same thing.

Ms Sandwith is also part of a carers of mental health group run by Bendigo Health which she said was helpful to her.

“Once a fortnight we go out for morning tea and a walk, and once a month we have a group gathering, which really helps because you sort of destress, everybody gets a chance to talk,” she said.

The high tea at All Seasons was put on by Carers Victoria, and CEO Judith Abbott said the organisation is passionate about looking after those who care for others.

“Around 100 carers will come together for some fun, some food, and a chance to both take some time out from their caring role and connect with others who may be in a similar care role,” she said.

“Our job is to make life better for unpaid carers across the state.

”While the support unpaid carers provide is crucial, said Ms Abbott, it can often come at a personal cost.

“Evidence indicates that carers are at high risk of poor wellbeing, high psychological distress, and poor physical health,” she said.“

That includes being two-and-a-half times more likely to have low wellbeing than the average Australian adult, and three times as likely as other Australians to regularly experience loneliness.”

The 2021 census showed 14.5 per cent of people, more than 20,000, in the Bendigo region aged 15 or older provided unpaid care to individuals with disabilities.

Ms Abbott said carers who would like to connect with others in local groups around Greater Bendigo can visit the organisation’s website.