Support for Carers
Support Options Available
Whilst taking on the role of being a full-time Carer for someone can be very rewarding, it can sometimes result in feelings of loneliness and isolation. It may be difficult for you to go outside the home to socialise, and family and friends may start to visit less often. It can be helpful to share your experiences with someone you feel you can comfortably discuss your concerns – family, friends, neighbours or especially other Carers or Health Workers, who may be in a better position to understand and empathise with your situation.
Support Services & Professional Counselling
These services can help you to better manage and understand your situation – particularly relating to relationships and improving behaviours that can be a large part of being a Carer. Using this type of assistance can reduce the stress you may be experiencing in your caring role, and even lead you to successfully continue in your role for much longer than you first thought possible.
Types of assistance available
Support Services and professional counselling may include the following –
- Grief counselling
- Short-term psychological and emotional support
- Guidance in your relationship with the person in your care
- Advice to assist you to better manage challenging behaviours and situations
- Information to help protect your rights as a Carer
There is a range of qualified professional counsellors that provide these services, depending on the type of support you need.
There are also specialist Carer information and advice services to support you in your role. These services will help you with information about:
- Accessing independent aged care advocacy services
- Making decisions concerning your caring role
- Planning appropriately for things such as respite care or short-term care.
How are counselling services delivered to you?
In the majority of cases, support services and counselling are delivered to you in a wide variety of community settings. However, a small number of services may only be available via ‘phone counselling’.
Carer Support Groups
Carer support groups offer a safe place to talk about your role and experiences as a Carer. They can put you in contact with other Carers who may be experiencing similar concerns as you, so you can share suggestions and advice to support each other.
Carer Support Groups are most commonly organised around specific caring roles and/or conditions. For example for people with a particular chronic disease, physical disabilities, mental illness, aged care needs etc, and the individual situation of the person you are caring for. For further information about Support Groups in your local area, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422, or visit Caring For Someone with a Particular Need.
Accessing Grief Counselling Services
When a loved one dies, it is natural to feel intense feelings of grief that you may have trouble coping with. It can be helpful to discuss your feelings with someone from outside your circle of family or friends.
The main objective of grief counselling is to focus on helping you to better understand your emotions, and to adjust to the changes in your life. It can also assist you to understand the actions of people around you, who may be expressing their grief in very different ways to your own. Grief counsellors can put you in touch with other connected services in your area that may be able to assist you.
These two national support organisations, which have local branches Australia wide, may also be able to help you cope with your grief:
- The National Association for Loss and Grief Australia (NALAG) is a non-profit and independent organisation. They assist people, organisations, groups and entire communities to work through their grief and trauma, to help them to be as strong and resilient as possible. A range of links to counselling programmes, local resources and education can be found at the NALAG website.
- The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement is a non-profit and independent organisation. It is the largest provider of grief and bereavement education in Australia. Visit the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement website to find out how they may be able to assist you through education course, counselling services and support information.
To access immediate assistance
If you need to talk to someone immediately, contact Lifeline (24 hours a day) on 13 11 14.
If you need respite, Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres may be able to organise either short-term or emergency respite services.