Too often carers push themselves to the limit. Their call for help may come too late for their own health. Carers, act early and find support!
© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions
As a reader of my blogs, you are likely to be an informal carer.
This coming week, National Carers Week (16 – 22 October), recognises your role, and the 2.65 million Australians who join you, in providing informal care to a loved one.
It is also about making sure you are accessing the supports available to you (informal and formal), particularly in the early stages of your caring role, to avoid burn out.
Avoid crisis point
In the 36 years I have been helping Australian informal carers, around 75% of the time I am called in to support a family when the situation has reached crisis point.
This is when the informal carer can no longer provide care. Either the carer’s health – mental, physical or both - has collapsed from exhaustion or they have passed away.
Such a crisis within a family can be avoided by getting the help required early on and planning ahead for that life event well before it happens.
Access The Carer Gateway
The Carer Gateway, an Australian Government-funded free service, is one I encourage you to explore today.
I was recently on a the panel of a Carer Gateway information seminar hosted by Your Side Australia in partnership with the Benevolent Society, discussing the Carer Gateway and bringing crucial information to carers.
Carer Gateway has been around since 2015. In more recent years it has been transformed by significant investment. So if you’ve tried it before, give it another go!
The advice and support offered to carers is personal and tailored. It begins with an assessment of your situation.
Termed the Carer Star Assessment, the assessment covers seven key areas (making up a seven-pointed star) to understand how you are coping on each.
Through the assessment the Gateway counsellor will seek to understand:
Your current health.
Your day-to-day caring role.
How you are managing at home.
What time do you have to yourself.
How you feel.
How you are managing your paid work.
The assessment highlights where you need help, with the Gateway counsellor guiding you on how to access that help. It could be:
Coaching (offered free of charge through the Gateway);
Peer support (free);
Emergency respite (free for a maximum of 63 days a year);
Online skill courses to help you in your caring role (free); and
Financial support for carers
Two types of financial support are available through the Carer Gateway:
Up to $1,500 to purchase practical equipment or items that help you in your carer role.
Funding for planned respite, transport to appointments or someone to assist with shopping, cooking and cleaning services over a 12-month period.
Other financial supports for carers
The Australian Government provides supplementary income support, the Carer Allowance (currently $136.50 per fortnight), to Australian residents who meet certain criteria. While there is no asset test for this payment, there is an income test (you and your partner’s combined adjusted annual income must not be more than $250,000).
If your carer role prevents you from working, the Australian Government offers replacement income support through The Carer Payment (up to $987.60 per fortnight). This is the pension. To obtain it you need to meet certain criteria including an income and assets test.
Accessing in-home carers
You can have trained in-home carers help you in your carer role, with that help subsidised by the Australian Government. Accessing this help involves completing paperwork and wait times. Take a look at the Australian Government’s My Aged Care website for more information.
My message is that if you have taken on the role of carer – find out now what support is available to you.
For more information on the Carer Gateway, take a look at this information pack on the new supports available.
Not sure what the Carer Gateway can do for you? Download the:
Carer Gateway Information Pack
by Your Side Australia, delivering Carer Gateway supports and services in Sydney in partnership with the Benevolent Society.
Carer Gateway Information Pack
Where Carers Can Find Support.
Learn what supports are available to you, and how you can access them, in this handy booklet.
It's free and easy to download; we invite you to get your copy.
Submit the form below and we'll send it directly to your email address.
If you need help as a carer to navigate this complex system, please feel free to call me, Danielle Robertson, for an initial discussion on how to set up the right care, support and assistance for your loved one at the right time and in the right place.
 About National Carers Week
 Australian Government: Carer Gateway
 Australian Government Carer Gateway: Tailored Support Packages & Planned Respite
 Australian Government Services Australia: Carer Allowance
 Australian Government Services Australia: Carer Payment
 Australian Government: My Aged Care
 Your Side Australia