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Getting The Support You Need as a Carer

18 December, 2022

Finding the right care for you, so you can keep caring for the person you love.

The people who provide unpaid care for their loved ones are among our community’s unsung heroes. 

Caring for someone you’re committed to can be one of life’s most fulfilling roles. It can also take its toll – both physically and emotionally.

It could be that your loved one is receiving palliative care at home. Or perhaps they’re living with dementia. Or maybe you’re caring for a child with disability. 

These roles are physically and mentally demanding. Which is why it’s so important to connect with the right support that can help you keep on caring.

What the Research Says

If you’re finding your role as an unpaid carer challenging, you're not alone

According to support body, Carers NSW:

“Carers are more likely than other Australians to experience a range of health, wellbeing and socioeconomic issues.”

Carers NSW studied the impacts of providing unpaid care.  They found that carers report poorer physical and mental health, lower relationship satisfaction, and greater levels of isolation. Here are some of the findings:

  • Carers responding to the 2020 National Carer Survey reported an average wellbeing score of 57% (compared with 75% for the general population).

  • Nearly half of the carers who responded to the 2020 survey reported high or very high levels of psychological distress.

  • More than half felt socially isolated.

According to the ABS, carers also often don’t have the time or energy to prioritise their own health. Nearly 2 in 3 carers have a chronic health condition, compared to 1 in 3 Australians overall.

Despite the challenges, carers really want to keep caring for the people they love. 

But to do it long-term, having the right support is essential

Here are some of the options worth considering.

1. Respite Care

Many carers report that they struggle to let go of the reins and let someone else share the load. Feeling guilty for needing some time out is common.

But without regular breaks – for personal time or ‘life admin’ – the risk of carer burnout is very real. It’s important that you let yourself have a little time off from your caring role, so you can come back to your loved one feeling refreshed.

Focus Care offers respite care that can give you some much needed me-time, including:

  • Day programs for adults with disabilities

  • Transport and social support

  • Creative therapies.

Engaging these services will help you get some time to yourself. Plus your loved one will expand their social connections and have a great time!

Read more about our range of disability support services here.

2. In-Home help

Focus Care also provides in-home help services for carers of people with disability, dementia, or those providing palliative care.

Depending on your loved one’s NDIS funding or aged care package, this might range from social support to private in-home nursing

As well as a wide range of disability support services, Focus care offers in-home aged care including dementia care.

Having a trained professional visit your loved one at home can help ease your caring load. It can give you the break you need to:

3. Counselling

Your mental health is important. And with unpaid carers reporting higher levels of psychological distress than average, it’s essential that you prioritise it.

If things are getting overwhelming, a caring ear can help. Consider reaching out to a professional counsellor or psychologist.

As a first step, speak to your doctor about a Mental Health Care Plan as you may be entitled to Medicare rebates for up to 10 sessions.

4. Peer-support

One of the best ways to feel supported in your role as a carer is to find people who understand what you’re going through …after all, they’ve been through it themselves.

Peer-support groups can be the best place to find this camaraderie. Carer Gateway can help you connect with a peer-support group either in-person or online.

Many carers report the relief they feel when they make these important peer connections.

5. Carer Gateway

The Australian Government created Carer Gateway to connect carers to services and support. 

It’s a free hub offering practical and emotional support to anyone caring for a family member or friend.

The gateway can be a great place to find and connect with the support you need to keep on caring.

Get in touch

Caring for a loved one is both rewarding and demanding. Get in touch with us to discuss how our team can support you and the person you love.

Read more: Why self-care is so important for carers

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