Many people live in our communities with a disability, mental illness, chronic condition or are frailed or aged, making it difficult and sometimes impossible for them to look after themselves. These people need lots of support, love and assistance. This is when a carer steps in.
A carer is someone who performs a wide range of duties, including changing the bed, bathing, preparing food and keeping the environment as hygienic and as comfortable as possible. Others care for people who are more independent, yet still need help with their finances and transport. A carer also provides emotional support and some carers perform traditional healing techniques as well.
A carer is usually a family member: either a parent, partner, brother, sister, friend or child, and may be eligible for government benefits. Other carers are employed or have a private income.
Carers work day in and day out for some of the most fragile and isolated members of our community. Being a carer is very rewarding yet it can also be tough as the work that is performed may impact on the carer’s health, income and relationships with others. There are a variety of care situations, but most carers take on caring responsibilities because a family member or friend needs their assistance.
Many Aboriginal people are already working in the community, providing love and help to sick people. If you feel that you could help someone who is sick, there are many services around that need your help.
There are also a lot of support systems in place for people working as carers, such as information packages, newsletters, counselling and training.
For more information about being a carer, talk to your doctor or local Aboriginal Medical Service or call Carer Australia, the national peak carer organisation, on (02) 6282 7886. You can also obtain more information from www.carers.asn.au.