If you are new to your caring role or have recently discovered the meaning of being a “carer”, you may feel unsure in how you can begin accessing the supports and services designed to assist you. Carers WA understand it can be difficult to navigate changes and are here to help Western Australian carers no matter where they are in their caring situation. Here is a quick resource guide to help new carers find information about their caring role.
How did you become a carer?
“A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to family members and friends who have disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness, an alcohol or other drug issue, or who are frail aged.”
Becoming a carer can happen at any time and can happen in a number different ways. Carers can range from primary school-aged young people to older adults well into their nineties. They exist in all communities, all cultural backgrounds and all throughout metropolitan and regional WA. Carers provide comfort and reassurance for the loved one they care for, oversee their health and wellbeing and monitor their safety while helping them retain their independence and quality of life. Each caring situation is different such as:
- Some carers may provide 24 hour care for a family member with high care needs.
- Some carers may provide support to a family member who is relatively independant but require support with tasks such as housework, transport, shopping or banking.
Sometimes a caring role may happen gradually as you find yourself helping out more as a loved one’s health and independence declines, or very suddenly due to an accident or health crisis. You may not have realised that you were a carer until you read facts about family carers, and are not linked to services and supports that may assist you. Read the “Who Are Carers” webpage to learn more about how people become carers. This information is helpful in your journey to define your role and situation.
What can I do about my financial situation?
Some carers may have their work hours impacted due to their caring responsibilities. Other carers may have to care for someone 24 hours day and have little to no time to dedicate to a job. If you feel this may be the case, you may be eligible for financial help from the Australian Government depending on your situation and the care you provide. If you are a carer that is eligible/receives a carer payment, you are still able to use the Carer Gateway services.
If you would like to read more information about the different carer payments that are available, including options for older carers or young carers, please click here.
If you need information regarding choosing between Carer Payment and Age Pension, you can read this article provided by the Australian Government, or ring the Carer Gateway line to help assist you in your choices.
What is respite?
As a carer, it is important to regularly take a break and make time for yourself to rest and recharge. It can be done for short periods of time such as a few hours each week, or for a longer period of time, such as overnight or a weekend. Carers WA provides support services such as social support groups so carers can connect with other carers and experience a change in environment. This can be through morning teas in your local area, art classes or social events.
By talking to a Carer Support Planner on the Carer Gateway line, we can recommend different services that will suit you and create a plan for you to use when you need it.
For more information about what respite is, click here.
What other supports do I have access to?
Carers have a busy schedule, so we understand that daily tasks may be difficult to manage, especially during these challenging times. Carers WA is the peak body that represents the needs and interests of carers in Western Australia. We are here to help achieve an improved quality of life for family carers in our state.
Please do not hesitate to call Carers WA on 1300 227 377 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm) for any question you have about your caring journey. You can also contact our Carer Gateway Services line on 1800 422 737 (Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 5.00pm) to get in touch with a Carer Support Planner and create a personalised action plan for your caring journey.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, contact our Carers WA Counselling Line, professional and accredited counsellors are available to provide support for all WA carers on 1800 007 332 (Monday – Friday 8.30am – 4.30pm).
Other helpful resources for carers can be found below:
- For information regarding support during COVID-19 such as shopping, click here.
- For help and advice about the Carer Gateway services, click here.
- To stay updated on WA carer information and news, view the Carers WA Newsletters and E-Bulletins webpage here.
- For news updates from Carers Australia, click here.