Care for the carers

6 Feb 2017 1:50 PMDPT DPT
Care for the carers

Carers need support too! A social worker in a care support organisation talks about her role in the service. Learn more.

Australia has a high proportion of people living with dementia who are living at home – approximately 60%. This means a high number carers in the home also. This week we meet Leila who works as a social worker for a Carer support organisation and talks about her role and the service.


1.What are main areas you work in that supports carers?

We are there for the carers. We support people looking after a family member or a friend - someone at home or if they’ve gone into an aged care facility. We also offer Advocacy support to carers


2. What are the main reasons that carers ring the service?

The major reason that people ring is when they are stressed and need extra support or services.  The main reasons why they are stressed is because of the sheer demand of looking after a person one-one, 24/7, on their own. They may be isolated or in remote areas and have not tapped into local services.  They may be dealing with personality changes if a person has dementia or has had a stroke. We also talk to carers about aged care options.


3. What does the support service provide?

Phone support service and education sessions about dementia, managing carer stress and fatigue and effective communication and boundaries. Also sessions on Power of attorney and guardianship

We run Peer support groups for carers once a fortnight.

There are Walking groups and Qigong groups. We have a fun group called Laughing luncheons –  where carers laugh their way through lunch meetings.


4. How can home care workers support carers? 

By being aware that the carer can be very stressed and include them in all in decision making. Encourage them to go out. By saying "why don’t you go get that haircut or go shopping on your own while I'm here with mum/dad". Also, if they say something like “mum has been going downhill” then report to this to the supervisor.

The main feature of supporting carers is to be a good listener.


5. What would you like the world to know about carers?

Research has shown have the well-being of this group is lower than prisoners. Be aware of the fact they tend not to look after themselves as they are struggling with family they don’t understand -and for some, it's 24/7 care.

Carers don't usually access respite until they are desperate. This is because they can't make the person go, or it's too hard or it will upset the person.