Caring for someone can be challenging, both emotionally and physically. It can also be a rewarding experience. However, from time to time carers may need some extra help and support. This could include counselling or independent aged care advocacy for you as a carer, or respite services for the person you care for – which would allow you to take a break. Respite care can also give the person you care for variety and extra social opportunities.
You might not think of yourself as a carer. In truth many carers see themselves as a family member who looks after a person they love, not as a carer. This means that you may not think to look for, or ask for help. There are a wide range of services available to help you in your caring role. Whatever the service, whether it's short-term respite or counselling, it is designed to lend you the support and assistance you may need. It's things like having some extra help and support that may mean you can stay in your caring role for longer.
Who is a carer?
A carer is a person who provides regular and ongoing care and assistance to a dependent person. Often, a carer is a family member, partner, friend or neighbour who freely and willingly provides this support without payment.
A carer may give care for a few hours a week or all day every day, depending on the level of support needed. Care could be provided within the person's home, a residential aged care home or at your home.
What if I'm caring for someone who is not aged?
Some aged care programs provided by the Department of Health may also be able to give you some help and support if you care for somebody who is not aged. For example, the National Respite for Carers Program provides respite, information and other support for carers of older people and, in some instances, younger people with a disability.
Younger people currently accessing aged care services may become eligible for supports through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), as it rolls out across Australia. For more information, visit the Department of Health website.