The Federal Government recognises the contributions of carers across Australia as part of National Carers Week (October 10-16).
Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Senator Richard Colbeck, said the commitment and support carers provide to senior and vulnerable Australians should not be underestimated.
Almost 2.65 million people care for a partner, family member or friend who needs them.
“These are the unsung heroes making an enormous difference in the lives of others,” Colbeck said.
“National Carers Week offers an opportunity to raise awareness about the integral work carers do for many Australians and how they make an important economic contribution to the community as well.”
Colbeck said the tireless work of informal carers was a particular focus of the Government’s $17.7 billion response to the aged care royal commission.
Part of the key supports includes an investment of $798.3 million to increase support for those who offer care with little recognition or outside help.
“Strengthening the support available will improve carer wellbeing, maintain the care relationship and avoid crises that may jeopardise the relationship between the carer and those in need,” Colbeck said.
Flexible and Centre Based Respite funding to support 8400 carers a year is being provided to Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) providers from January 1, 2022.
“This will also support approximately 134,000 informal carers through early referral from aged care assessors to the Carer Gateway support network to help plan support services.”
Carer Gateway provides counselling, connection with other carers, coaching, courses, and emergency respite services.
“Through this substantial investment, we are showing we are committed to supporting senior Australians to remain living safely and independently in their own homes and communities for as long as they wish to do so – which would not be possible without carers,” Colbeck said.
Importantly, support for carers of dementia patients has also been reinforced.
The expansion of care models will see increased access to carer education in the early period after diagnosis.
Enhanced early support for people living with dementia in the community and their carers is also being provided through a significant funding increase for evidence-based activities delivered under the National Dementia Support Program (NDSP).
This is expected to provide around 30,000 people with more timely access to supports like counselling, education sessions, support groups, and peer mentoring that provides coaching, advice and support to carers.
Information about support and programs offered by Dementia Australia can be found here.
Carers can contact Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737, to speak to trainer workers in their local area to help find the services and support required or by visiting the website here.
For more information on National Carers Week, visit the website here.