81% of SA’s unpaid carers under financial strain ‘most of the time’
A recent Carer Support survey has revealed that eight out of ten unpaid family carers believe that they are under significant financial strain because of their caring role.
According to a survey of 708 carers in the Carer Support Facebook Group, 81% of respondents said they experience financial strain “most of the time” (59%) or all of the time (22%) as a consequence of their caring role.
Nearly a quarter of a million South Australians are carers (245,000), that’s one in six South Aussies caring for family or friends every day.
Carers give ongoing care or assistance to loved ones who have a disability, a serious chronic physical or mental illness, or need help with everyday tasks as they get older.
While many say that caring can bring the whole family together, dedicating enough time and energy can take a huge toll on a carer’s own health, family life and their plans for the future.
It can be hard to make ends meet if a carer is working reduced hours or unable to do paid work at all. For many carers they have had to give up paid employment altogether. This immediately alters the extent of income coming into the family and meeting costs of mortgages, the ever-increasing costs of electricity, gas, and water all affect the ability of that family to meet these costs and the subsequent financial burden that comes from the caring situation.
There are many unique costs associated with the caring role such as extra expenses for disability aids, health care and specialised transport most of which is not available unless the family can afford to cover these costs themselves.
Research from the Australian Bureau of statistics reveals that the weekly median income of primary carers aged 15 - 64 is 42% lower than that of non-carers. 44% of primary carers are unable to commit to a paid job at all (compared to 20% of non-carers 15-64).
Peter Sparrow, CEO of Carer Support, believes these results confirm yet again that being in a caring role does cause significant and ongoing financial strain and it cannot be overlooked or ignored.
“Carers provide 1.9 billion hours of unpaid care in a year in this country. That’s worth $60.3 billion or more than $1 billion per week,” Peter said.
“Yet taking on the responsibility of being an unpaid family carer for someone clearly puts a massive financial and emotional strain on their own day-to-day lives.
“More support is clearly needed for Australia’s informal family carers. This small, yet significant, poll clearly indicates that among family carers there’s a view that government needs to offer greater support to those sacrificing time, money and often their own health and well-being, to care for their loved ones.”
In the meantime, carers should ensure they are all getting all the advice, support and entitlements this is currently available by contacting Carer Support on 8433 9555.
For further information, please contact:
Peter Sparrow, Chief Executive Officer, Carer Support or Dave Simms, Marketing and Fundraising Manager, Carer Support 08 8433 9555