Currently around 2.9 million Australians provide unpaid help and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness or who is aged and frail. Carers are a key but often unacknowledged part of Australia’s health system. The annual replacement value of care was estimated in 2010 to be over $40 billion. Carers come from all walks of life, and spend on average about 40 hours per week providing care for many of the most vulnerable people in our community. At some stage in our lives, most of us will be, or need, a carer. Caring can be personally rewarding, but it is also a role with many demands and challenges, including financial hardship, strains on health and wellbeing, social isolation and career disadvantage.
Carers: Ageing and Disability looks at the invaluable role of the people providing informal aged and disability care in Australia, and explains the latest government initiatives aimed at supporting caregivers and those they care for. Isn’t it time we all cared about the carers?