If you are looking after someone who has a chronic illness, mental health condition, physical disability, intellectual disability, a person with special needs, a parent or other family member, a spouse or partner, or a friend - you may be considered a carer.
If you are a carer, you may have certain legal rights, and you might be able to access support services to help you in your caring role. Financial support may also be available.
If you’ve recently started looking after a family member or friend, it can be overwhelming just figuring out where to begin. Carer Gateway is a new Australian Government initiative that can provide you with practical advice on how to care, as well as information on the services and support available to you. If you would like more information, visit: www.carergateway.gov.au or call 1800 422 737. #CarerGateway
The physical and emontional demands of caring are high. Carers need to take care of themselves or these demands will wear them down and caring will become more difficult and will be harder to continue doing the things which are most important for the person for whom you are caring. This affects the family and those close to you. The carer's role can be 'exquistely saddening and painful. and marked with continuing grief'.
A good thing to do is to contact your local carers' support group. Many people find these helpful and receive emotional and practical assistance from going to these meetings with others who know what it is like to care for and live with a person who has one of the dementias or other classified condition.
It is important to manage carer stress and everyone has different ways of doing this. You could try things like having a consistent schedule, remember that people are not 'being difficult' that many behaviours and emotions are affected by their condition. Learning as much as you can about the condition and encouraging friends and relatives to do the same. Remember it important to talk things over with family, friends, other carers or your support group coordinator or your local respite centre care coordinator.
Taking care of yourself means paying attention to your diet, exercise, personal care and maintaining social contacts and lifestyles. (Adapted from Alzheimers Association help sheet.)