Did you know?
- Carers make up nearly 11% of Australia’s population
- That 7 out of 10 primary carers are women
- The average age of a primary carer is 54
Like 2.7 million other Australians (that’s 1 in every 11 Aussies) when it comes to providing care for a family member ageing in place many people feel that the best person to provide that care is a family member. Love is always the first ingredient in any family carer’s journey but there are some important considerations to taking on such an important role as a family member.
Most family carers take on the role with little or no experience, or expectation of respite, often ‘falling into’ the role. The nuances of tending to the intimate care needs of your loved one as they are ageing in place are hard to foresee but can be life changing and as stressful as they are rewarding.
There are some compelling benefits to being a family carer. You will be in the box seat to enjoy quality time with your ageing loved one, and can immerse yourselves in common stories, and warm each other’s souls through the reliving of fond memories. Everyday moments like pottering in the garden, cooking, tending to children are part of what make up a full life, and being a family carer can help you to enjoy more of these times with while providing in home care.
Caring can also equip you with new skills to handle any situation life can throw at you. As a family carer, you will have a lot of curveballs thrown your way, and you’ll serve in a lot of different roles when you are the nurse at home for your ageing in place loved one. Resilience, if it wasn’t already, can become one of your greatest assets as it will help you bounce back from sadness, exhaustion, and difficulty, protect from compassion fatigue and burnout when providing care for your elderly loved ones.
Many family carers also report developing a better understanding of their real values though their experiences caring for a loved one. They also report learning more about their own relationships and find their best relationships can be strengthened even further. Finding out who amongst your friends and family are willing to offer help or keep you company as you support your loved one ageing in place can be heart-warming. You will find yourself surrounded by the people in your life who will listen to you talk about the difficult moments of in home care and celebrate your victories alongside you, building stronger bonds.
Whilst these great reasons might be adding to your desire to take on this role, it is important to be aware that many would also say that being a family carer is not for the feint hearted. When you are thrust into a world that is unfamiliar, discussing someone else’s personal needs with doctors, nurses, government agencies, therapists, negotiating funding schemes, managing someone else’s household, it can easily lead to overwhelm and seem like a life of your own is a thing of the past. Self-care is a concept many of us flippantly talk about, but in the role of a family carer, it is critical to you being able to be effective in your role, and all the roles you still need to play in your life.
Carer burnout can be the result when we forget about the love part of the equation as it relates to us, and our mental and physical health can suffer as a consequence. Self-care is an act of love and very few know how to use it especially when it is needed the most. When caring for others, we forget to manage our own well-being. As the story goes, when on a plane and the emergency instructions are being demonstrated, parents are told that in the event of an emergency put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then tend to your child. This same analogy works for you as a family carer.
One way to support your self-care is taking advantage of the Carer Gateway. This provides carer specific in-person, phone, and online services and support nationally to help you be the nurse at home for your loved one ageing in place. The Carer Gateway team can work with you to understand your needs, and provide support and services to assist you in your caring role, including:
- Carer support planning, information, and advice
- In-person and phone-based counselling and peer support
- Targeted financial support
- Assistance with navigating relevant, local services including My Aged Care,
the National Disability Insurance Scheme and palliative care
Sometimes, even though every fibre of your being tells you that you should be able to handle the demands of caring, it is best to bring in some help. If and when this time arrives, in home care can be a true blessing for family carers.
In home care services offer help with the many activities of daily living in the persons own home, including:
- Light housekeeping
- Grocery shopping and/or making meals
- Medication reminders
Home Care Assistance regularly provide support for family carers to ensure the best care can be provided to loved ones ageing in place. No request is too big or too small, from emergency respite to regular support, we can even be engaged on an hourly basis, so we really are only a phone call away, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To find your local Home Care Assistance team Click Here
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As a leading age care provider, Home Care Assistance offers tailored in-home care services for older Australians, enabling them to live happier and healthier lives in the comfort of their own homes.
We offer private and government subsidised Care Packages and have office locations that are a registered NDIS provider. Our Care Workers undergo extensive training in order to deliver unmatched in-home aged care services where people can continue ageing in place. We are proud ambassadors of the My Aged Care government funded aged care program, enabling Australians to successfully navigate the process and gain approval for in-home care support packages. Home Care Assistance offers hourly care, specialised care, Alzheimer’s and Dementia care, hospital to home care, and 24 hour in home care.