Who are carers

A carer is someone who, without receiving a payment for the provision of care, apart from Carers Payment or Carers Allowance, provides care and support for a family member or friend who has a disability, is frail aged or who has a mental or chronic illness.

Over 2.9 million Australians provide help and support to a family member or friend, saving the Australian community more than $40 billion per year.

An estimated 310,000 Western Australians provide unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who requires help due to illness, disability or frail age.

Who can be a Carer?

Carers range in age from as young as eight to people well into their nineties. 

More than one in eight Australians are carers.  Of these carers, over 310,000 are providing either substantial or full-time care in WA. 

Two thirds of carers are women and most carers provide care for a parent, partner, child or friend.

Carers WA helps carers in any caring situation.

How do people become Carers?

People become carers in many different ways for a variety of reasons.  Each circumstance is unique.

Sometimes the caring role happens gradually – helping out more and more as a person’s health and independence decline over time.  Sometimes it happens suddenly due to an accident or illness.

What do Carers do?

Every care situation is different.

Some carers provide 24 hour nursing aid to a family member or friend with high care needs.  They may assist with daily needs and routines such as feeding, bathing, dressing and administering medications.

Others care for people who are relatively independent but require someone to keep an eye on them or assist them with tasks such as banking, transport, housework and shopping.

Carers are integral in providing comfort, encouragement and reassurance to the person they care for.  They oversee their health and wellbeing, monitor their safety and help them retain their independence and quality of life.

Other types of carers

The term ‘carer’ is often used to describe roles and activities that are different to those supported by Carers WA.

We are sometimes mistakenly contacted by people who think we provide services relating to these groups of people:

  • Paid carers or care workers: are paid a salary or hourly rate to look after people with care needs

  • Foster parents / carers: are not carers under the Carers Recognition Act 2004 if paid a salary or hourly rate for providing care.

  • Parents and carers: can describe anybody who lives with and looks after a child under 18 with no special care needs

  • Kinship carers: are relatives or close friends who look after children and young people who are unable to live with their families. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, a kinship carer may be another Indigenous person who is a member of their community

 Who do Carers WA support?

Carers WA assist people who provide unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who is frail and elderly, has dementia, a mental or chronic illness, a disability, or complex needs, or receives palliative care.

  • You do not need to live with the person you care for

  • You do not need to be the main source of care and support

  • You do not have to provide care every day or over many years

  • You do not have to receive the Carer Payment or Allowance from Centrelink

For more information

Visit our section on “Carers WA Services” for information about the services and programs that assist carers and their families to adjust and cope with their role as carer, or contact Carers WA directly.

Carers WA: 1300 CARERS (1300 227 377) 8.30am – 4.30pm

Carers Counselling Line: Freecall 1800 007 332 8.00am – 5.00pm

(Calls from mobile phones are charged at applicable rates.  Carers WA welcome mobile users to leave their number for a Counsellor to contact them).

Also of Interest

Factsheets