Recognise one in six
TOMORROW marks the start of National Carers Week. Tasmania has 85,508 carers, of which about 7600 are under 25 and 2100 under 15. Nationally, family carers are one-in-10. In Tasmania it is one-in-six. This is a week that recognises their unpaid support of family and friends with a disability, mental illness, chronic condition or terminal illness, or who are frail or aged. Informal carers give 1.9 billion hours of unpaid care across Australia, worth $60.3 billion a year. Family carers have incomes 42 per cent lower than non-carers, 56 per cent are in the workforce compared with 80 per cent of non-carers, many are forced to leave the workforce and of these, 24 per cent live below the poverty line on carer payments. They are 20 per cent more likely to suffer mental health issues and it is 70-80 per cent if caring more than 20 hours a week. A study shows 26 per cent of those caring for family with dementia have contemplated suicide and of those, 30 per cent will attempt it. Often they just see themselves as husband or wife, son or daughter, grandparent or grandchild, neighbour or friend. As a result, they don’t get the support available. It’s not weakness to accept help. Email intake@carerstas mania.org or call 1800 242 636.