Voluntary Aged Care Workers Need Support
At some point in your life, you’ll either be cared for or be a care giver in some capacity. Sometimes the responsibility of becoming a carer can happen unexpectedly and immediately. Especially if you have an aging loved one. With an increasing ageing population of over 65’s, and shrinking family sizes, a shortage in voluntary care givers seems inevitable.
It’s also more expensive to live now than it once was, so there’s an increasing need for caregivers to be able to balance paid employment with voluntary caregiving. According to Carers Australia, 1 in 8 paid employees are voluntary carers of a loved one.
Extending on this, there’s an estimated 2.86 million informal caregivers across Australia, and according to the interim report from the Aged Care Royal Commission, there’s terrible pressure on informal carers at present. There’s also not enough home care packages to service the volume of people who are in need of them.
Government Funded Aged Care Support Services
People become voluntary caregivers of their elderly loved ones for many reasons including cognitive and physical impairment. This can be emotionally and financially exhausting at times. However, if you’re caring for an older person who needs coordinated services in order to remain in their own home, there’s support available. Also, if you’re finding it difficult to manage your daily activities around the responsibilities of caregiving, there’s support available.
Consider contacting My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to arrange an assessment with the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). They’ll come out to your loved one’s home to develop a support plan which will include the care and services that best meet their needs based on their current circumstances.
Your loved one could be eligible for a range of aged care support services including the following:
- A home care package
- Residential aged care
- Residential respite care
- Respite care
- Transition care
- Short-term restorative care
More often than not, caregivers are searching for some support in the home to ease the burden. This could be care at home through a home care package, or respite care.
Home Care Packages
Home care packages are designed to offer a higher level of support for people with more complex needs who are still able to live in their homes. A home care package is government subsidised to help people to remain in their homes for as long as possible.
If you’re caring for a loved one, many services are available through a home care package that will support your loved one’s care needs and goals, and consequently alleviate some of the responsibilities that you’ve taken onboard. For example, allied health services, continence management, nutritional support and transport assistance are just some of the services that your loved one might receive through a home care package to meet their care needs and goals. Also, respite care is available through a home care package.
Respite care is in existence to give caregivers time that they need to go about their own activities. It can be on a formal or informal basis and is typically offered in the community, or in the person’s own home. Residential respite care is offered at an aged care facility. Respite care is sometimes arranged as a one off, or it can be on a regular, ongoing basis.
Getting Other Help & Support
Sometimes there’s an extensive waiting period for aged care support services in the home. This puts a great burden on caregivers, and means that support services may be falling short for the care recipient. If this is your current situation, other avenues to get help include asking other family members to pitch in. Or asking friends to help out as well. Somebody might be able to help out with grocery shopping, meal preparation, or transport to and from medical appointments. These things might seem small but they can make such a big difference to a carer’s life, easing some of the weight put on their shoulders. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.
While the Royal Commission into aged care continues, presently there’s still much pressure on voluntary caregivers to deliver care to their older loved ones, and manage other aspects of their lives including financial management.
If you’re a carer and you require support and advice, you can talk to a professional at Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737. And remember to reach out to other family members, friends and neighbours if you’re able to do so.