Around 2.7 million Australians, or 11 per cent of the population, care for family and friends, but nearly 80 per cent don’t identify themselves as a carer, according to new global initiative Embracing Carers.
I understand this – I cared for my mother for two years but I never saw myself as a ‘carer’ – just a daughter looking after a parent.
But Embracing Carers says because of this, many carers are unaware of the emotional, financial and practical support and services available to them.
These include the Government’s Carers Allowance, an income supplement paid to people who provide daily care in a private home to someone with disability or a severe medical condition; and the Carer Payment, for unpaid carers who provide full-time care and pass an income test.
In addition, unpaid carers can be eligible for emergency respite and respite subsidies through the Department of Social Services. You can find out more about planned respite for aged care on agedcare101 here.
So how do you know if you are a carer? Embracing Carers has developed a questionnaire which you can take here.
The Government’s Carer Gateway also has plenty of information and resources for carers including an interactive service finder to help carers connect to local support services. Find out more here.
National Carers Week is 14-20 October.