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Sartore adds: “They may also be
grieving for the lost opportunity to play
purely a grandparent role, rather than
one in which they need to be the primary
carer, providing all aspects
of care full-time.”
Caring for the carers
Of course, it's not just grandkids who are
being looked after by the over 65s.
In 2009, there were approximately
521,000 carers aged 65 years and over.
Four out of fve of these were providing
care to another person aged over 65,
often a partner or family member, such
as a disabled adult.
What is interesting is that many of
these older carers -- more than half -- are
carrying disabilities themselves.
For many retirees, there will be a time
when they take on a caring role, says Ian
Day, chief executive offcer of the Council
on the Ageing NSW.
"It could be a parent in his or her 80s,
an ageing or sick partner or helping out
with grandchildren care while parents
work,” he says. “If you’re in a family
situation, chances are there will be times
when you are needed to provide care.
"People are living longer but not always
in the best health. Maybe we need to
expect that some of our retirement years
will be spent caring for others, and when
we plan for our future, we plan for that
as well,” Day ponders.
Carers Australia agrees that as the
population ages, and the ratio of working
age people to those over retirement age
grows, policies and attitudes around how
we can provide care to loved ones need to
be looked at, even overhauled.
A recent report from the Australian
Bureau of Statistics (ABS), ‘Caring in the
Community', highlights the rising impact
on Australians who provide care. It
found that about half the primary carers
had often felt weary, angry, worried,
depressed, and/or had a stress-related
illness as a result of their caring role.
"We have known about the impacts
of caring for some time,” Ara Cresswell,
CEO of Carers Australia, says. "What
these (ABS) statistics remind us of is
the need to provide support to carers
such as respite, counselling, case
management, carer training and access
to therapy, to assist with care-related
injuries in their own right.”
A helping hand
As the numbers of people involved in
providing signifcant hours of care
increase, caring for carers is very much
on everyone's political agenda it seems.
As Day puts it, if the unpaid carer is
supported, then the direct burden on
governments is less. And what is paid
to carers is under the microscope right
now, as part of the Abbott Government’s
proposed welfare reform.
About 220,000 people receive the
Carer Payment in Australia and about 90
per cent of these people have no private
earnings -- caring is their full-time job.
As well as the payment, an allowance
is available to someone who provides
daily care and attention to someone in
their own home. About 560,000 people
receive the allowance, which is not
means-tested. There is also an annual
Carer Supplement payable to eligible
carers for each person in their care.
Navigating through what payments
you are eligible for and fnding out
where you can fnd extra support can
be a minefeld.
Carers Australia has an advisory
ser vice to help carers make sense of
what they're entitled to, what ser vices
are available and where to go for peer
and emotional support. (see More
information for carers).
"Most [carers] want to... help out with
the grandchildren. But it's important
that they have the support so they can
more easily do this,” says Day. ••
Photography: Studio Commercial
Styling: Pia Andersen at Vintage Allsorts
Male model: Mark Sorensen at Spectrum
Female model: Maryanne Kenney
Evie, Estelle and Layla wear: Oobi Baby & Kids
Here are some good
resources and services
where carers can get
more information, support
P: 1800 242 636
Delivers carer counselling
and support services
through a network of
state and territory Carer
AND CARELINK CENTRE
P: 1800 052 222
Helps connect you with
organisations in your area
that may provide services
MY TIME FOR
P: 1800 889 997
A national network of
peer support groups for
grandparent carers who are
full-time carers of children
aged up to 18 years.
Provided by the Federal
Department of Human
BEING A GRANDPARENT
An online resource
provided by the Raising
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