Carer Gateway - Emotional and practical services and support for carers.Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Many people don’t see themselves as carers. They often see what they do for the person they care for as part of their responsibility as a family member or friend. However, children, parents, partners, relatives or friends who provide care and support for someone close to them are all carers.
According to the Australian Carer Recognition Act 2010, a carer is someone who provides unpaid care, support and assistance to another person who needs it because of a disability, a long-term medical condition or life-limiting condition, mental illness, alcohol or drug dependency or someone who is frail due to age.
Carer Gateway – the Australian Government’s national carer program – can support carers in their caring role by providing reliable services, supports and advice specifically for carers.
Carer Gateway was introduced in 2015 as a website and phone line to help carers find and access support to help them in their caring role. The Australian Government was committed to improving carer services, so undertook an extensive four-year consultation process with carers and the sector.
Since 2019, Carer Gateway has expanded and is able to offer more support at a local level throughout Australia, through various service providers, including The Benevolent Society, who operate the program across most of metropolitan Sydney.
Carer Gateway services are free to access for anyone caring for a family member or friend. It is open to Australian citizens and residents, as well as carers who have a refugee status or are on a visa. It’s available for carers who are caring for someone living at home, in supported living or residential aged care. Carers can be any age and the person they care for can be any age.
“Carers can provide any type of care – some carers provide support 24 hours a day and help with daily living, while other carers provide fewer hours of support and help with tasks like transport or meal preparation,” says Michelle Williams, Deputy Manager of Carer Gateway at The Benevolent Society.
While caring for a loved one can be incredibly rewarding, it can sometimes be emotionally and physically draining. According to the 2022 Carer Wellbeing Survey, 55.2 per cent of carers have low wellbeing – a rate more than double that of the general population.
“Caring can be challenging, and it takes time and energy. Our carers tell us that they sometimes feel overwhelmed, exhausted and isolated. There is also a lot of change that often needs to take place in a carer’s life, along the caring journey,” says Michelle.
“It’s easy to focus all your attention on your loved one, however you can only help if you look
after yourself too. So, it’s reassuring to know that supports are available to assist carers through Carer Gateway,” Michelle says.
Carer Gateway offers tailored support packages (education/training packages and practical support packages), counselling to provide emotional and psychological strategies, coaching to empower the carer to make positive changes, peer support to connect carers with each other both online and face-to-face, access to emergency respite and online courses.
To register or find out more information:
Phone: 1800 422 737.