Supporting a senior loved one as a carer can be a lonely and sometimes overwhelming experience. Without someone to turn to, many carers find that despite their best intentions, they begin to suffer burnout and can’t provide the kind of care that their loved one needs. For this reason, it is vital that carers know who to ask for help – whether it be for information, practical assistance, or just a listening ear. Here are some services to explore that may help you feel supported, valued, and confident in your caring role.
Support for new carers
If you are new to your caring role, knowing who to approach for help and what questions to ask is a whole job in itself! Below are some organisations that should be your first port-of-call for general information about Aged Care services and how you can access support.
Carer Gateway is the Australian Government website hub for anyone who has taken on a caring role. It has information on everything from where to get help, to real-life stories from carers to a directory of peer-support and online support forums for carers. Carer Gateway hosts an online Community Forum, in which carers can join discussion groups, chat with other carers and find information about Aged Care services. For those who would rather meet up face-to-face, Carer Gateway also runs in-person Peer Support groups all over Australia. To find one in your community, contact Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737 or online.
There are several organisations that host in-person support groups, workshops and meet-ups for carers of senior loved ones. Carers Queensland and Carers Victoria have a diverse calendar of events to support carers socially and emotionally. Whether you live in Brisbane, Melbourne, the Gold Coast or in regional Queensland, simply visit the website, click on the Events Calendar and filter for your suburb or the type of event you’d like to attend – it’s that easy to find other Aged Care carers to connect with.
Weavers carer support group is an organisation that is focused on one-on-one peer support for carers. In Brisbane, carers can contact the organisation to find out more about connecting face-to-face with others who have experienced being a carer to find personalised emotional and mental health support.
If meeting up in person isn’t possible for you, there are many online resources that will see you connecting with support services and other carers in no time.
Dementia Australia runs the National Dementia Helpline for people who care for a loved one living with dementia. Their phonelines are available 24 hours a day on 1800 100 500, or you can use their online webchat for emotional support or to connect with services in your area. The website also features a wide range of helpful videos for carers, with tips and information on everything from helping your loved one with dementia to manage driving, grooming, and communicating, to how allied health services can support you in your caring role.
There are many Facebook groups formed by carers, for carers in the Aged Care space. One, run by Dementia Down Under is a place for carers of loved ones living with dementia to find support, connection and to learn from each other. Friends Care Online, run by Carers Queensland, is another Facebook group where carers can connect with others facing similar experiences.
The important thing to remember as you continue to care for your elderly loved one, is that you are not alone. Help is available and there are many other carers who have experienced similar challenges who can provide support. If you are interested in finding out more about support for carers, here are three articles you could find useful.