There are around 854,300 carers in NSW. This includes individuals as young as eight years of age through to the very elderly.
In Australia is estimated a total of nearly 2.2 billion hours of care were provided during 2020 and the replacement value of unpaid care in Australia is now estimated at over $1.5 billion per week.
For many, caring is a 24 hour-a-day job with emotional, physical and financial impacts that can also affect a carers’ participation in employment, education and community activities
How do people become carers?
People become carers in different ways.
Sometimes it happens gradually - helping out more and more as a person's health and independence deteriorates over time. It may also happen very suddenly, after a health crisis (like a stroke or heart attack) or an accident.
It's not uncommon for carers to feel that they don't have any choice in their caring role. Even in large families the responsibility of providing care often falls to one person rather than being shared. In other situations, there may be only one person to take on the caring role.
Many carers feel that caring is what they should do.
What do carers do?
Every caring situation is different.
Some carers provide 24 hour nursing to a family member with high care needs. They help with daily needs and activities like feeding, bathing, dressing, toileting, lifting and moving and administering medications.
Other carers support people who are fairly independent, but may need someone to keep an eye on them, or help them with tasks like banking, transport, shopping and housework.
Most carers give comfort, encouragement and reassurance to the person they care for, oversee their health and wellbeing, monitor their safety and help them stay as independent as possible. Carers help the person they care for to have a good quality of life.
Often the extent of the support provided by carers isn't obvious to those around them. Even family and friends can underestimate the amount of time and energy spent caring, particularly when the kinds of assistance given aren't physical.