Results show concerning levels of stress, isolation and financial disadvantage for carers.
Today the initial findings of the 2022 National Carer Survey were launched to mark the beginning of National Carers Week.
With more than 2.65 million unpaid family and friend carers living in Australia, and over 50,000 living in the ACT – National Carers Week, from 16–22 October 2022 is dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating the outstanding contribution carers make to Australian society.
In Australia it is estimated a total of nearly 2.2 billion hours of care are provided every year by family members and friends. The replacement value of unpaid care in Australia is estimated at over $1.5 billion per week, while carers lose on average $392,500 in lifetime income due to care commitments.
Carers ACT, CEO, Lisa Kelly said “Through the 2022 National Carer Survey we’ve heard comments like ‘caring has a huge negative impact on work life’. These comments, coupled with the findings on loss of income, super and professional opportunities really demonstrate that as a community we need to do better to support carers. Anyone can become a carer at any time, and no one should have to experience this level of disadvantage and distress in order to provide care to a loved one when needed”.
The Survey received a total of 6,826 valid responses from carers across Australia, including 113 from the ACT. This included a strong response from diverse and hidden groups of carers – including young carers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) carers and sexuality and gender diverse carers, which will enable a better understanding of the experiences and support needs of these groups.
Key findings from the 2022 National Carer Survey include:
- Nationally, the average age of respondents was 59.8 years, and 3 in 4 respondents were female.
- The most common group of people being cared for by respondents was people living with disability, followed by those with a chronic health condition or living with a mental illness.
- Nearly half of respondents provided care to someone aged 65 years or over.
- Nationally, respondents spent an average of 104 hours providing care per week, with 49% providing care 24/7. The average length of time respondents had been caring for was 12.9 years.
- Around half of the carers who responded were experiencing high or very high psychological distress, and felt highly socially isolated.
- Large numbers of carers reported not being asked about their own needs when accessing aged care, NDIS, and mental health services with or on behalf of the person they cared for.
- 1 in 2 respondents experienced financial stress and 1 in 7 experienced financial distress.
- The average wellbeing of carers remains significantly lower than for the general population in Australia.
High-level Survey results from ACT and across Australia can be downloaded here, with more findings to be published in the coming months.
“Half of respondents do not feel that their caring role is recognised, almost 1 in 2 carers still experience some form of financial stress, and, once more, 56% are socially isolated. These are extremely concerning results that need to be urgently addressed” said Ms Kelly.
“We encourage our workplaces, social networks and communities to Share the Care this carers week– take time to consider how you can support, thank and acknowledge carers in your circles.” Ms Kelly said. “As community we can do more to share the care.”
“It has been an incredibly isolating and tough two years for Canberras carers – carers have been under more stress and feel more unseen during Covid than ever and it’s critical that we acknowledge the experience of Canberra’s carers. We need see these reports, see the impact unpaid caring is having those caring for a friend or family member, and we all need to see the individual carers around us too.”
This year Carers ACT is celebrating National Carers Week with many events focused on recognising and celebrating carers, and providing opportunities for social reconnection that has been so eagerly awaited. The week will commence with a cocktail party, and lights on the Carillion on Monday night and conclude with a family fun day next weekend. More event information and way to support carers can be found at www.careract.org.au
The 2022 National Carer Survey was conducted by Carers NSW with the support of the other State and Territory Carer Organisations and an expert reference committee that includes carers, service providers and academics from several universities. Carers NSW receives funding from the NSW Department of Communities and Justice to conduct the biennial Carer Survey, which was conducted nationally for the second time in 2022.
For all media enquiries and interview requests: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mel Ziarno 04296 347 765
Notes to the editor
- There are approximately 50,200 across the ACT *i
- It is estimated that carers in Australia provided 2.2 billion hours of unpaid care in 2020. *ii
- The replacement value of that care (the cost were it provided by paid care workers) is estimated at $77.9 billion, over $1.5 billion per week *ii
- The demand for unpaid carers is at an all-time high and set to increase in the future *ii
- Carers loose on average $392,500 of lifetime earnings at age 67, with the top percentile losing $940,000 *iii
i Australian Bureau of Statistics (2018) Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers
ii Deloitte Access Economics (2020) The Economic Value of Informal Care in 2020
iii Evaluate (2022) Caring Costs Us: The economic impact on lifetime income and retirement savings of informal carers. A report for Carers Australia.
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