As a Carer, you play a critical role in providing daily care and support to people with disability, mental health issues, medical conditions, or those getting older. Often you willingly give the lion's share of your time for your loved ones, but who cares for you? Who cares for the carers? Luckily we live in a country that recognizes your loving sacrifices, and there are many services and supports that you can turn to for help.
To help raise awareness, we have put together this list of 10 tips with useful contacts every Carer should keep in their toolbox.
Tip 1: Let your GP know you're a carer
Being a carer can often affect your own health. Letting your health professionals know that you are a carer can enable them to care for you as a carer.
Supports could include:
- Providing health checks as well as offering support and advice to help reduce or manage any issues or risks
- Home visits or tailored appointments
- Inform you of up and coming news or Carer events
- Provide you with information regarding local services and support organisations
What you can do...
- Ask you GP to record your caring status
- Enquire to see if they have any Carer’s support services or information for you to make use of
- Tell your GP if you are experiencing stress and/or anxiety
- Ask about counselling and how this can help you
- Before your appointment write a list of the questions you want to ask
- If you and the person you care for both need an appointment, ask to book a double appointment to reduce the stress
- See your doctor when you need help….
Tip 2: Look after your own well-being and stay healthy
Take some time out for yourself, and think of your own health too. The following organisations are great starting points if you live in Victoria.
Tip 3: Know your rights
The Federal and State governments provide legal protection for you, and the person you care for.
It is important to know your rights, such as the right to speak up and complain about a service or provider as well as the anti-discrimination laws in place to protect you and the person you care for. There are several places you can seek help to learn more about your rights.
Tip 4: Meet other carers in a similar situation. Join a local carer support group.
Carer Support Groups give you the opportunity to meet together socially, take a break, spend time with like-minded people and support each other.
Victoria People Solutions can link you to a carer support group in your local area. Alternatively, if you wanted to organise a carer support group or an event contact us to find out how we can support you. Everything Carers is a Victorian website that is home to a comprehensive list of Carer Support Groups around VIctoria
Tip 5: Take a break from your caring role
Professional respite services or special holidays can enhance Carers quality of life by providing support, enabling you to attend appointments, or take a short, important break from your caring role.
Tip 6: Plan ahead
By planning ahead you can ensure your expertise is passed on to other people who can cover for you should a situation arise whereby you need to take a break from your caring role. Once a plan has been made, you have peace of mind knowing that others are aware of the supports you provide to your loved ones, the duration and nature of that support and what the plan is going forward.
Tip 7: Assessing financial support/allowance
In Australia, there are several benefits and allowance schemes which carers can be eligible for. Examples of concessions and allowances include: Carer Card, Companion Cards, Disability Parking Permits, Carer Allowance, Carer Supplement and Carer Payment to name a few.
You could also be entitled to other benefits from the government. The benefits system is complicated. Claiming can be difficult and time-consuming. If you are unsure as to whether you can claim, you can get advice from the following organisations:
Tip 8: Working while caring
Carers have legal rights at work that help them manage their caring and employment needs. Employers may also be able to offer additional flexibility through their own policies and procedures to help you cope with the pressures of work and care.
Tip 9: Have an emergency plan in place
Create a list of important numbers. The people to call should a crisis arise. A list of medications, allergies and important things to note.
Tip 10: Find out more about carer supports and services that may be helpful for you through these organisations:
For more information regarding anything mentioned above feel free to contact us on 0406 203 988.