Family is all about caring, and these pages contain information for those with loved ones who need looking after. According to Carers Australia there are more than 2.6 million unpaid family carers in Australia. With an ageing population that figure is likely to grow.
|Being a carer|
Generally speaking, carers provide unpaid care and support to family members and friends who have a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness or who are frail aged. If you become a carer, it will impact on your finances and lifestyle. You may need to stop work, or drop your hours back to part-time work.
There’s support available, both emotional and financial, and you should contact Carers Australia for information and advice about caring and the services and assistance available. For Respite Care contact a Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre - call 1800 052 222 (free call) during business hours or, for emergency respite support outside standard business hours, call 1800 059 059 (free call) - from anywhere in Australia.
The government provides a Carer Payment as well as a Carer Allowance. You can contact Centrelink to see if you qualify.
|Caring for a disabled child or family member|
Being a carer for a disabled child is a lifelong commitment for many parents. It can be incredibly rewarding, but also heartbreaking and exhausting. Depending on your child’s condition there are likely to be support networks available. You should seek as much help as you can. There are physical and emotional impacts of caring and the financial cost can also be high.
The Better Start for Children with Disability (Better Start) initiative
From July 2011, this initiative provides funding for early intervention for children up to the age of six with:
You can find more information at Better Start (Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs).
|Caring for elderly parents or loved ones|
As the population ages, an increasing number of Australians are finding themselves caring for their elderly parents or loved ones. This can be a very difficult time and there are many issues to consider;
None of these decisions are easy. They can be very emotional and it’s wise to seek the counsel of health professionals as you’re working through the various issues. There’s community care available, although in some areas the waiting list can be long. You can also choose to pay for private care. In the end, no matter how much care your love one receives, the onus is still on family to help, often on a daily basis.
|Aged and Health Care|
You should speak with the family GP about arranging an aged care assessment. Depending on the circumstances your parents or partner may qualify for various levels of care.
This could include:
For an assessment speak with your GP or contact Aged Care Australia on 1800 500 853.
If you’re approaching an age where your independence may be compromised, it’s wise to make plans or at least discuss with your loved ones what your wishes are. You should talk about your financial affairs, make sure your will is in order and perhaps talk about it with those concerned, finalise funeral plans, and give a trusted family member or friend medical power of attorney.
Accessing aged care facilities involves a process. There are 5 steps that you need to follow to move into an aged care home:
Residential aged care places are funded by the Australian Government but there are private facilities where you contribute to the cost.
There are two levels of residential care provided across Australia: high care and low care.
High level care provides on-going 24 hour nursing care, meals, laundry, cleaning and personal care. Low level care lets you live independently while receiving assistance with meals and laundry and personal care, but does not include the provision of nursing care. To be eligible to reside in an approved aged care facility you need to be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment team. This team may include a doctor, nurse, social worker or therapist and they’ll provide information on suitable care options and arrange appropriate referrals. This resettling of parents is a traumatic event for them and for you the carer, but with a bit of knowledge and planning, you can make it as stress free as possible.
Your GP will also be able to let you know about free and discounted medical services that may be available to you. These could include:
For more information you may like to visit www.seniors.gov.au or call the aged care information line: 1800 500 853.
The Federal Government also produces a very helpful handbook called Accommodation Choices for Older Australians and Their Families. You can obtain a copy from Centrelink or by calling 1800 050 009.
|How we can help|
Sadly caring for a love one can impact your finances, both in terms of outgoing costs and your earning capacity. We may be able to help.
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