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Caring for someone

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.

Becoming a carer

Everyone's path to becoming a carer is different. Read about different paths that can lead to becoming a carer, and the types of support that may help you.

Caring for someone at home

Caring for someone at home? There's many services to help and support you in your caring role. Learn more about these services and how to receive them.

Caring for someone in an aged care home

Deciding to move into an aged care home can be a difficult decision for the person moving and their family, friends and carers. Read tips to help you decide.

Respite care

Respite care allows a carer to attend to everyday activities and have a break from their caring role. Read more about how to receive respite care.

Counselling and support for carers

It's easy to feel isolated or lonely when you're a carer. Read advice to help you as a carer, such as sharing your experiences with someone you trust.

My health and wellbeing

Spend most of your time looking after other people and not looking after YOU? Read health and wellbeing tips to help you stay healthy in your caring role.

Young carers

It's important to look after yourself as well as the person you care for, which means taking time out to live your own life. Read how to receive help.

Carer payments and carer allowance

There are two types of payments that a carer may be able to access – Carer Payment and Carer Allowance – to support them to stay in a caring role.

Legal support for family and carers

You may need to make a range of decisions that impacts the personal affairs of the person you're caring for. Read about power of attorney and guardianship.

Caring for someone with a particular need

Everyone's care needs are different. There are lots of resources, services and support groups that cater for caring for someone with a particular need.

Caring for someone at the end of their life

Caring for someone near the end of their life can be emotionally and physically draining. You're not alone. Discover how you can receive support.

Tips for being confident in your caring role

Carers are important in their caring role and as individuals. Learn how to balance your role as a carer with other important aspects of your life.

Useful contacts for carers

There's a range of organisations and programs around Australia that may be able to help you as a carer. Read more information about how they may help you.

See what others have done

Last reviewed: 30 June, 2015.