Opinion

LETTER: How you can help give a carer a break

Help give a carer a break this month.
Help give a carer a break this month.

AUSTRALIA has more than 2.8 million unpaid carers whose combined efforts equate to more than $60 billion a year if this was provided by paid carers.

These 2.8 million silent heroes play an integral role in providing informal care and take the pressure off an already stretched aged and community care industry.

The community to take a moment and thank the many unpaid carers and ask if they need a helping hand during this week, which has been nominated as National Carers' Week.

Nearly half of all unpaid carers are supporting their partner, while a further 20% are caring for a parent.

These statistics indicate that the bulk of people needing care are seniors, and are being cared for by their husbands and wives.

In addition, there is 20% of adult children - who are presumably part of the sandwich generation - juggling work, raising a family and caring for ageing parents.

Being a carer is not easy, and can limit opportunities for socialising, making new friends and maintaining relationships.

If you're an older carer and are looking after your partner, you may also have your own health or mobility issues.

The reality is that carers often overlook the importance of self care because they're busy looking after others.

Considering the average carer spends around 40 hours per week (which in 2015 was equivalent to 1.9 billion hours of unpaid care), there is a real concern that without some respite, they can and will burn out.

Carers Week is an opportune time to offer a helping hand and to encourage them to reach out for some respite.

This can be as simple as having a coffee with them and listening to their story or helping them to organise some respite care so they can have a much-needed break.

Additional support for carers is also available in technology alarms and monitors.

These can give peace of mind to carers of people facing risks of falls, diabetes, dementia, epilepsy, chronic disease, physical disability and post-hospitalisation care.

JENNENE BUCKLEY

CEO of Feros Care

Topics:  carer feros care jennene buckley letter opinion



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