Caring for someone
Carers provide regular support and assistance to those who need it because of disability, chronic illness, mental illness, drug and alcohol dependency, frail age or dementia. When caring for a child, this is when the care needed by them is more than what a child of their age would usually need, for a long period of time.
A carer is not paid a wage or salary, although they may receive a pension or allowance for their caring role.
People of all ages can be a carer, including:
- an older person caring for a child with disability who has grown up
- a child or young person caring for a parent with disability
- a parent caring for a child with disability
- a relative or friend caring for an older person.
Carers can be employed, at school and/or have a range of other commitments at the time they take on the role of caring.
Kevin Dunne is a 2015 Highly Commended NSW Carers Award recipient who is caring for his wife who has dementia. He talks about the needs of male carers, especially when it comes to the grief associated with dementia.
Laurel Lambert is a 2015 Highly Commended NSW Carers Award recipient who has cared for her adult daughter since she was born. She talks about the pride associated with being a carer.
The Australian Government has launched a service for people who care for someone with a disability, chronic illness, dementia, mental illness, or who are frail due to age. Carer Gateway will make it easier for carers to find information, advice and services, with targeted sections for young carers, older carers, working carers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers and culturally and linguistically diverse carers. For more information visit www.carergateway.gov.au.
Looking after yourself
Being a carer can be immensely rewarding, but it can also be emotionally and physically demanding.
The better your physical and emotional wellbeing, the better you will be able to cope with the demands of caring.
Taking a break
Everybody needs some time off to recharge the mind and body, including carers.
Breaks are also important for the person you care for. It gives them an opportunity to socialise, meet other people and learn new skills.
You are not alone
Being able to talk with someone who knows what its like to care for someone with disability or an older person often helps.
A network of support groups across NSW offer parents, families, friends, peers and carers the chance to connect with other people in similar circumstances.
Coping with challenging behaviour
Challenging behaviour, such as aggression or withdrawn behaviour, can interfere with the daily life of a person with disability, or their carer.
There are a number of ways families and carers can help the person with disability manage challenging behaviour.
As valued members of the community, carers may be entitled to payments and services which support them to continue in their caring role. See the Australian Government Department of Human Services website for information on the payments and services they offer.