This week is National Carers Week. An estimated 1.2 million Australians are caring for a person with dementia. By 2029 Australia faces a shortage of more than 150,000 paid and unpaid carers for people with dementia.
Alzheimer’s Australia CEO Carol Bennett said, “providing care for a person living with dementia can be a challenging role that may have substantial impacts on the wellbeing of the carer. If we want people with dementia to remain at home and connected to their communities for as long as possible, we need more support and services for carers to reduce some of the negative impacts including social isolation, increased poverty, illness and carer burn-out.”
Research indicates that a combination of carer supports can provide the best results, including:
- Information, education and training for carers to equip them to cope with challenging situations
- Psychosocial approaches including social support groups and participating in enjoyable activities
- Case management and respite care
Ms Bennett continued, “we know that the greatest single area of unmet need among carers of people with dementia is respite care. Respite care is incredibly important to ensure carers are given a break from their responsibilities and provides some relief from the mental and physical pressures. Respite care enables carers to continue their role and directly benefits the person living with dementia.”
Alzheimer’s Australia has released a new resource today, Support for Carers: A practical guide to services for families and friends of people with dementia. The purpose of this new guide is to provide information and support to carers who are embarking on their dementia journey with someone they care for. Along with this guide, Alzheimer’s Australia is also launching; Caring for Someone with Dementia, which explores the economic, social and health impacts of caring and evidence-based supports for carers.
“If we are to achieve a system that supports people to live in the community for as long as possible – where most people would prefer to be – we need to address the pressing need for comprehensive, evidence-based support for carers. We hope these new resources will offer carers of people with dementia a helping hand in navigating their journey as they take on this complex and demanding role of carer.” Ms Bennett said.
A copy of Support for Carers: A practical guide to services for families and friends of people with dementia is available here .
A copy of Caring for Someone with Dementia: The economic, social and health impacts of caring and evidence based supports for carers is available here .