Recog­nise one in six

Mercury (Hobart) - - YOUR TASMANIA - Chris Need­ham Black­mans Bay

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.

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