There are a surprisingly large number of carers under 25 in Australia – more than 306,000 – so if you're a young carer, you're not alone. 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.
The following tips may help you to look after yourself. They have worked for other young carers so why not give them a try?
- Take time out. While this can be difficult at times it is important to play a sport, hang out with friends or simply listen to music.
- Don't drop out of school or give up your job. If you need support to continue your education or to stay in the workforce, The Young Carers Respite and Information Service Program may be able to help. Visit the Young Carers website to find out more.
- Try and share the responsibilities, perhaps with a brother, sister, aunt, uncle or grandparent.
- You may sometimes feel as if your friends don't understand your situation. If so, Carers Australia in each state and territory can help you get in touch with other young carers like yourself who know what's going on and how to deal with it.
- Try and learn about your family member's condition – it may help you understand their moods, behaviour and physical changes, as well as what medicines they need.
- Don't forget that it's normal to feel angry, frustrated or guilty, or to worry. Make sure you share your feelings – you may be able to talk to family members, friends, other carers or a counsellor.
Support for young carers
Helping to care for someone can be challenging, especially when you’re young. Sometimes you might feel happy, and other times you might feel worried, angry, frustrated or alone. But there is lots of help out there.