Caring for our carers
Celebrated from 16 to 22 October, National Carers Week is a time to celebrate and recognise the 2.8 million Australians who are in a caring role, whether they are caring for a partner, a parent, a child, a friend or a neighbour.
Carers are people who provide unpaid care and support to family members and friends who have a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness, addiction or are older people with care needs.
Carers improve the lives of the people they care for, contribute to broader community wellbeing and provide a substantial economic benefit. Bass Coast Shire Council believes carers deserve to be recognised and valued for their important role.
Council gives carers the opportunity to take a break from their caring role by organising Carer Retreats with their loved ones, as well as Carer Activities, including workshops and outings, which gives them chances to socialise, recharge their batteries and learn new skills. They’re also welcome to join a Carers Support Group that meets regularly for coffee and a chat.
Newhaven resident, Lyn Sedgman, who cares for her husband, said the outings are wonderful.
“Until recently, I haven’t been able to leave my husband for very long, but he’s improved enough that I can come out and meet with other carers. These groups are great,” Ms Sedgman said.
Ms Sedgman said unless you’ve actually been in a carers’ role, it’s hard for people to understand just how challenging it can be and while there are services available, not everybody accepts them.
“The challenges being a carer are daily. There are a lot of services I could access, but because my husband doesn’t want to access them, I can’t and the load gets fairly heavy,” she said.
“I do have showering assistance (through Council) three times a week which is great; that’s a real benefit. The positives are that I’m able to keep him at home.”
Karen Sandon from Corinella also cares for her husband and said the assistance she receives from Council means more to her than helping with housework.
“Knowing that once a week we’ll be on top of the housework, because someone’s come and done the floors – I couldn’t tell you how much difference that makes to my resilience for the rest of the week,” Ms Sandon said.
“Council’s been very good at working out what I need specifically and it’s not always measurable by what you might think.”
Carers make an enormous contribution to our communities as well as our national economy and without them, it would cost the country over $60 billion per year to deliver the work and support carers provide – that’s over $1 billion per week.
The Carers Recognition Act was legislated in 2012 and recognises the important contribution that people in care relationships make to our community and the unique knowledge that carers hold about the person in their care
The Act empowers carers, and the people they care for, to take part in care planning where appropriate and to fully access available services. For more information on this Act and to find out what it means for you, visit www.basscoast.vic.gov.au/hacc.
If you are looking for more information on Council’s award-winning Carers programs, please contact Council’s PAG Coordinator, Libby Diprose, on 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or (03) 5671 2211.