Caring for our carers
Did you know almost 2.7 million Australians identify as carers? Of these around 850,000 recognise themselves as primary carers. The role of a carer is significant and can directly impact their life choices and financial, emotional and social wellbeing. Whilst the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) offers superb flexibility and choice to people with a disability, it does not formally recognise the needs of carers and promote their support.
As evidenced in Anglicare Australia’s Carers: Doing it Tough, Doing it Well report, support coordination and respite options programs have been effective in meeting the needs of the carers and yielding positive outcomes. However, with the introduction of the NDIS such programs will close as government funding ceases.
Whilst it is expected that under the new NDIS system the current role of some carers may diminish, the role of carers in offering informal, long-term care will continue. It is vital that carers are recognised in the new system and are supported accordingly. Policy should reflect the need for carers to access an independent carer support coordinator/service and the option to participate in flexible respite services.