This week is National Carers Week - a time to recognise and celebrate the 2.65 million Australians who provide care and support to a family member or friend.
Informal carers are an essential part of the support system for older people and those people living with a disability.
National Carers Week provides an opportunity to raise community awareness about the diversity of carers and their caring roles across Australia.
Informal carers are people who provide unpaid care and support to family members or friends who need it. They may be supporting someone who has a disability, a mental health condition, a chronic condition, a terminal illness, an alcohol or other drug issue or who are frail or aged – anyone at any time can become an informal carer.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care highlighted the importance of the informal carer.
“In 2018, around 428,500 people were informal primary carers for someone aged 65 years or older.”
“Carers reduce the need for formal care, supplement the care provided by aged care services, and maintain critical social and community connections.”
Five Good Friends CEO Simon Lockyer thanked the many informal carers who provide support to Five Good Friends Members.
“85% of women of working women over 45 are caring for an ageing or disabled loved one. 70% of men of working men over 45 are caring for an ageing or disabled loved one”
“We also know that Covid has placed extra stress on our informal carers. With rolling lockdowns, border closures, home schooling and working from home – providing informal care has been a struggle for many families.”
According to the ABS Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey, in November 2020, around 1 in 6 (16%) Australians aged 18 years and over reported being an informal carer (ABS 2020).
Since 1 March 2020, 1 in 4 (25%) of these informal carers had difficulty providing care or assistance because of restrictions put in place following COVID-19, 22% reduced their recreational activities, and 22% changed their working arrangements (ABS 2020).
We are grateful for the important work carers are doing supporting their loved one at such a critical time to provide safe, flexible, kind and consistent support.
*National Carers Week is an initiative of Carers Australia, funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services, and coordinated with the assistance and participation of the National Carer Network.