Caring can be very demanding and often has significant impacts on the lives of individual carers and their families.
Many carers miss out on important life opportunities, particularly for paid work, a career and education. This can result in the following issues impacting onthe carer’s wellbeing:
Due to their carer responsibilities, unpaid family and friend carers often experience financial disadvantage. Many carers find it hard to cover living expenses, save money or build up superannuation.
- 90% of people receiving the Carer Payment have no private earnings.1
- The weekly median income of a primary carer is $520, which is 42% lower than a non-carer.2
- A third of carers surveyed in 2017 reported they cannot pay for services they need or want.3
- There are significant barriers for carers in accessing and receiving available financial assistance.
Health and wellbeing
Carers are at greater risk than the general population of a host of health conditions and usually put the needs of the person they care for above their own.
- Caring can be emotionally taxing and physically draining. Carers have the lowest wellbeing rating of any large group measured by the Australian Unity Wellbeing index.
- Carers often ignore their own health and are 40% more likely to suffer from a chronic health condition. Some health problems, like back problems, anxiety and depression, can be directly linked to caring tasks.
- Many carers are chronically tired and desperately need to refresh with just one night of unbroken sleep, a day off or an extended period with no caring responsibilities.
Social isolation and relationships
Due to their caring roles carers often do not have the opportunity to interact with other people beyond their immediate family.
- Many carers feel isolated, missing the social opportunities associated with work, recreation and leisure activities.
- The demands of caring can leave little time for other family members or friends.
- Carers often have to deal with strong emotions, like anger, guilt, grief and distress, that can spill into other relationships and cause conflict and frustration.
Education and employment
Many carers must overcome significant barriers to access education and employment.
In particular young carers often face a lack of understanding by schools of their caring role, and face difficulty managing and completing their education alongside their care responsibilities.
Impacts on carers can include:
- Reduced opportunities to study thus limiting career progression
- Struggling to balance work and care responsibilities.
- Must trade-off more skilled work roles with job flexibility.
- Difficulty entering or re-entering the workforce.
- As a result. lower employment and participation rates than the general population.