Being a full-time carer can be rewarding, but also challenging.
Victoria has a wealth of support services to help those that are carers and those being cared for. The term "carer" can refer to paid and unpaid professional and lay carers.
Professional carers are people who are trained and paid to look after people, but many carers are family members looking after older parents, their child, or their partner. Or carers can be friends or neighbours.
As well as family members, partners, friends and neighbours caring for someone, there are a number of different professional carers known as care workers.
Paid carers include home care workers, personal care workers, and disability support workers.
All personal care workers in Victoria must have a Certificate Three in home and community care or related area such as disability or aged care, with the relevant personal care and first aid competencies.
Aged care workers, for example, provide care and support to older people in residential facilities, clinics, hospitals, and private homes.
They help with personal care, such as showering, dressing and eating, domestic duties, preparing meals and cleaning, and managing illness, such as helping a person with medicines.
“What my job involves more is to look after residents’ three basic needs. The first one is their physical needs. The second one is social need. And the third one is psychological emotional needs. We help the residents to be independent, but also be there if they need us to help them. “
While many carers talk of the rewards of being a carer, it is important to consider how much is involved, especially as an unpaid carer looking after a loved one.
There could be reduced income if you give up your job, emotional and physical stress, or feeling isolated.
That's where support comes in.
“There are times where it’s a bit challenging. It's great with palliative care, they've got their social workers and so forth, which is a great help for me as well as dad's, and they do a wonderful, wonderful job.”
The Australian government offers support to carers caring for someone with a disability or mental illness, with a medical condition, after an illness or accident, or an older person with care needs.
Support is also available to carers of people with a terminal or life-limiting illness, including respite, personal support, financial support, information, education, counselling, networking opportunities.
The carer payment provides financial support to people who cannot work insubstantial paid employment because they provide full-time daily care.
Visit the Department of Human Services to find out more detailed information about carer payments.
There is a range of support to assist carers in the vital role they undertake.
For more information, visit: BetterHealth.vic.gov.au/carers