Despite the heavy toll, home care provider The CareSide finds unpaid carers love their work

Caregiving is an indispensable part of Australia’s healthcare system, with the work performed by Australia’s 2.65 million unpaid caregivers valued at nearly $78 billion.

Yet, it often takes a toll on the carer as a new survey shows.

Home care provider The CareSide surveyed 707 unpaid caregivers living in Australia between November and December of 2023. The respondents were 91 per cent female and 9 per cent male. Only 6 per cent of respondents were younger than 44 years of age; with 75 per cent of caregivers surveyed 55 years or older, and 40 per cent were 65 or older.

In the survey, 94 per cent of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that they were often physically or mentally exhausted due to their responsibilities as a caregiver. It was hardly surprising with more than 40 per cent providing 60 hours of unpaid caregiving work or more every week, and another 13% above the typical 38-hour work week threshold.

Despite all the challenges, the overwhelming majority of caregivers in the survey believed they were doing a good job. More than 90% agreed or strongly agreed that they provide good and adequate care.

So, how can Australia better care for its carers?

Adam Birch, a counselling team leader for Carers WA, where he provides therapeutic support to caregivers through counselling, workshops, and support groups, said many caregivers struggle with the concept of respite care because it pulls them away from what they feel they’re supposed to be doing – delivering the care themselves.

“Even if carers move towards respite options, they may feel like they’ve failed or they might encounter resistance from the care recipient,” Adam told The CareSide.

“Respite options need to be utilised as a preventative strategy to burnout, not because burnout is already happening.”

A good reminder that there is help available to assist carers in their caregiving journey – you can find out more about respite options by calling the Federal Government’s Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737.

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A special thanks to our contributors

Antonia Norris

Researcher and Contributor

Antonia has led the operations and growth of the and within the DCM Group in Australia and New Zealand for several years. This has included the research and creation agedcare101 in 2016, the creation of the DCM Institute and Te Ara Institute, the joint contribution of Care & Living with Mercer (CaLM) and the TV series, The Best 30 Years, screened on NINE nationally.



Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

Ian Horswill


Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.