Media release – 16/10/2023 Canberra, ACT: Carers ACT, the capital’s leading provider of support services for family and friend carers, will mark National Carers Week today, highlighting the dedication and resilience of carers who provide vital unpaid support to their loved ones.
In addition, they are releasing two key publications, the first a coffee table book showcasing the honest, and often difficult realities of being a carer in the ACT and the need for better understanding and recognition, and a respite handbook for carers with tips on carer wellbeing.
With the theme ‘Millions of Reasons to Care,’ Carers ACT aims to shed light on the over 50,000 local carers, who are part of a network of 2.65 million Australians who selflessly care for their family members and friends, showcasing their diverse backgrounds and the many challenges they face daily. In particular, they are encouraging carers to grab a copy of the respite handbook, a resource called for by the region’s carers, and highlighted in Carers ACT’s carer strategy.
As an organisation committed to the well-being of unpaid carers, Carers ACT is also proud to offer comprehensive support services, including quality information, community education, advocacy, and direct support services. This critical support network is made possible through funding from both local and federal governments, ensuring that carers across the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) receive the assistance they need.
“National Carers Week is a time to honour the millions of reasons to care and to recognise the immense contribution that carers make to our community and our economy,” Lisa Kelly, CEO of Carers ACT said.
“Carers come from all walks of life, representing a rich tapestry of cultures, ages, experiences, and responsibilities. They often juggle caring responsibilities with work, study, and their own physical and mental health and wellbeing. It’s important that we acknowledge their incredible dedication and the challenges they face daily.”
Carers ACT encourages individuals, businesses, and communities to get involved during National Carers Week, which runs from 15 to 21 October. There are numerous ways to participate, including downloading resources that can be shared with communities and workplaces to raise awareness about carers and express appreciation for their vital role.
Additionally, Carers ACT is encouraging organisations to host events to mark the occasion, emphasising the importance of recognising carers’ diverse roles and responsibilities. These events can include morning or afternoon teas, fundraisers, workshops, and other activities to help attendees understand what caring entails and to highlight the available supports and services for carers.
“National Carers Week is a chance to learn, raise awareness, and show appreciation for carers who play a pivotal role in the lives of their loved ones. It’s an opportunity for the community to come together and demonstrate our gratitude for the millions of reasons to care. Together, we can share the care,” Ms Kelly added.
For more information about National Carers Week and how you can support carers in your community, please visit the Carers ACT website.
About Carers ACT: Carers ACT is a leading organisation dedicated to providing support services for unpaid carers in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). With a mission to enhance the well-being of carers, Carers ACT offers a wide range of services, including information, education, advocacy, and direct support. The organisation is committed to recognising the vital role of unpaid carers and ensuring they have access to the resources they need.
Below are some of the main findings of this year’s national Carer Wellbeing Survey (launched in 2021 as a partnership between Carers Australia, the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS), and the University of Canberra (UC) with the aim of tracking how the wellbeing of carers is changing over time), which was conducted in February to March with 5,881 Australian carers aged 14 years and above.
- Carers were almost twice as likely (58.3%) to report low wellbeing compared to adults living across Australia (30.4%).
Low wellbeing is a continuing trend for carers who are also almost three times less likely to have high wellbeing than other Australians.
- Carers were 2.5 times less likely to have good/excellent health (18.7%) compared to other Australians (47.6%).
- 38.6% of carers reported feeling lonely often or always, compared to 19.3% of other adult Australians.
Carers who reported being lonely were more than three times more likely to report low wellbeing (84.5%) compared to carers who were rarely lonely (25.2%).
- Carers who had good access to support from friends and family were significantly less likely to report low wellbeing (32.3%) compared to those who had no or limited access to support from friends of family (75.4%).
- Carers are consistently more likely than other Australians to report that they spend more time than desired on caring duties and housework/chores, and significantly less time than desired in paid work, volunteering, exercising, sleeping, and spending time with friends and family.
- Carers were 1.6 times more likely to be poor or very poor than the average Australian.
60.8% reported that they had experienced at least one significant financial stress event in the previous 12 months, such as being unable to pay bills on time, going without meals, or having to ask for financial assistance. This was significantly higher than the 57.3% who reported this in 2021, and the 53.5% in 2022.
- A total of 71.0% of carers who indicated they did less paid work than desired reported that their caring duties contributed to not working as much as they wanted to.
Carers who were employed were more likely to have healthy levels of wellbeing (43.2%) compared to those who were unemployed (27.5%)
- The rising cost of living was a topic of concern for carers with 44.7% sometimes or regularly having difficulty affording the groceries they usually buy, and 27.7% having difficulty affording medications.
56.9% feared not having enough money to be able to continue to care for the person they care for.
- 65.7% of carers feared for the future of the person being cared for
- When carers were asked to self-assess how different aspects of being a carer had changed for them in the previous 12 months, almost half (49.8%) reported that their ability to maintain their own quality of life was getting worse.
- In 2023, the most common barriers to accessing support included difficulty finding high quality services, complicated application processes, long waiting times to access services, lack of funding for the service via NDIS/MyAgedCare or other support packages and lack of local service availability.
- While being a carer has challenges, many carers continue to report positive aspects of being a carer, with over half reporting that overall being a carer is satisfying, that their overall ability to be a good carer had increased in the last 12 months and that their confidence in being able to be a good carer was getting better
Link to the full report: CWS-2023-Wellbeing-Report_Final.pdf (carersaustralia.com.au)
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