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Who Are Carers

A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to family members and friends who are living with disability, mental health challenges or long term health conditions (including a chronic condition or terminal illness), an alcohol or other drug dependency, or who is frail aged.

Over 2.65 million Australians provide help and support to a family member or friend, saving the Australian community more than $77.9 billion per year.

An estimated 230,000 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 nine Australians are carers.  Of these carers, over 320,000 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 declines 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 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 carers: are people or families who are paid to look after children and young people in their own home
  • 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 assists people who provide unpaid care and support to family members or friends who are living with a disability, mental health challenge, chronic condition, terminal illness, an alcohol or drug dependency, or who are frail aged.

  • 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