Family & Friends
To promote, assist, empower and enhance the lives of Carers
No one ever thinks that it will ever happen to their family, yet 1 in 5 families in Australia are faced with looking after someone who may have a disability, chronic illness or someone who has become frail and aged. In most cases one person within each family will take on the responsibility of providing assistance for the person requiring care.
Caring for someone may be a 24 hour job that can become emotionally, physically and financially stressful. Many people do not recognise themselves as Carers. Often the information and support they want is hard to find. That's where the Carer's Associations can help.
The Carers Associations offer support services for the family and friends of people who suffer a disability or mental illness and have support groups throughout Australia.
The Carers Association is the peak Carers' organisation in most states. They are a non-profit, community-based organisation, established in 1989 by a grass roots movement of Carers.
Working directly with Carers is important to the Associations. Through feedback they initiate research, develop policy and advocate at all levels of government on behalf of Carers.
About The Carers Association
Phone Numbers Of Carers Associations
Services And Programs At The Carers Association
Looking After Yourself
Membership At The Carers Association
Suggestions From The Carers Association
Your Rights As A Carer
The Wider Network Carers Association
About The Carers Associations
Carers Associations are located in every state throughout Australia. The central role of the Carers Association is the collection and provision of information. They provide information to Carers to assist them in their caring role and to empower them in their dealings with service providers and health professionals. They provide information to service providers, health professionals and the government about the needs and rights of Carers in order to effect changes in policy and service provision.
Carers Associations are there for everyone. They are there for Carers, young and old, from all cultural backgrounds. Family and friends are also encouraged to contact the Resource Centre, Service Providers working with Carers, and Researchers involved in Carer issues and policy.
All centres throughout Australia are able to work together to provide Carers with a nationally linked information base on respite services.
The Carer Respite Centre takes a holistic approach to the individual needs of the Carer and their family. The Carer and the coordinator design a 'care-plan' based on the individual needs of the Carer, so that service delivery can be tailored to meet the identified needs of the Carer. At this time the coordinator and Carer will determine the duration of assistance from the Carer Respite Centre.
Phone Numbers of Carers Associations
Carer Resource Centre 1800 242 636
Carer Respite Centre 1800 059 059
Department of Health and Aged Care Hotline 1800 500 853
Centrelink 13 27 17
Centrelink (in other languages) 13 12 02
Department of Veterans Affairs 1800 113 304
Aged Care Information Line 1800 500 853
National Association of Relatives and Friends of the Mentally Ill 1800 803 806
SANE Australia 1800 18 (SANE) 7263
Lifeline 13 11 14
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
MHIRRA (mental Health Information for Rural and Remote Australia) 1300 785 005
ACT Department of Health and Aged Care 1800 020 102 or (02) 6274 5111
ACT Job Futures Ltd. 1800 078 233
NSW Department of Health and Aged Care 1800 048 998 or (02) 9263 3555
NSW Wesley Uniting Employment 1800 631 132
NSW Transcultural Aged Care Service (02) 6282 5755
NT Department of Health and Aged Care 1800 019 122 or (08) 8946 3444
NT Centacare 1800 354 550
Nth QLD Department of Health and Aged Care 1800 019 030 or (07) 4727 2224
QLD Department of Health and Aged Care 1800 177 099 or (07) 3360 2555
QLD Community Health Services (07) 3250 8560
QLD TAFE 1800 637 193
QLD Ethnic Communities Council (07) 3846 1099
SA Department of Health and Aged Care 1800 188 098 or (08) 8237 6111
SA The Salvation Army Employment Plus 13 61 23
SA Multicultural Aged Care Service (08) 8232 4410
SA Western Carer Support (08) 8240 2900
SA Eyre Carers (08) 8683 4477 or 1800 350 004
SA Northern Country Carers (08) 8641 1844 or 1800 067 933
SA South East Carers (08) 8724 7188 or 1800 654 429
SA River Murray and Mallee Carers (08) 8584 6855 or 1800 806 580
SA Southern Country Carer Respite Centres (08) 8531 2333 or 1800 059 059
TAS Department of Health and Aged Care 1800 005 119 or (03) 6221 1411
TAS Centapact Employment 13 22 31
TAS Migrant Resource Centre (03) 6234 9411
TAS Aged & Disability Services 1800 806 656
TAS Advocacy Tasmania Inc. 1800 005 131
TAS Volunteer Training Service 1800 677 895
TAS Independent Living Centre 1300 651 166
VIC Department of Health and Aged Care 1800 133 374 or (03) 9285 0888
VIC Job Futures Ltd. 1800 078 233
VIC Anglican Homes for the Elderly (03) 9818 0988
VIC Carer Links West (03) 9396 1077 or 1800 059 059
VIC Carer Links North (03) 9471 1344 or 1800 059 059
VIC Carer Links East (03) 9852 7455 or 1800 059 059
VIC Carer Respite Centre Southern Region (03) 9276 6400 or 1800 059 059
VIC Barwon South Western Carer Respite Centre (03) 5229 4145 or 1800 059 059
VIC Carers Choice Grampians Region (03) 5333 7104 or 1800 059 059
VIC Carers Respite and Information Service, Hume Region (03) 5831 3611 or 1800 059 059
VIC Co Care Gippsland (03) 5176 1972 or 1800 059 059
VIC Carer Support Services, Loddon Mallee Region (03) 5442 7860 or (03) 5442 8419
VIC South West Region Disability Service (03) 5561 3920 or 1800 806 093
WA Department of Health and Aged Care 1800 198 008 or (08) 9346 5111
WA Jobs South West Inc. 1800 641 375
WA Multicultural Aged Care Service (08) 9346 8149
WA Southern Office (08) 6231 5507
WA Northern Outreach Office (08) 6334 9917
Services and Programs at Carers Associations
Carer Information Line
The Australia Wide Resource Centre and Information Line is a single point of contact for information for Carers on their rights, and benefits and services they are entitled to. Carers Associations also provide information to medical and health professionals, service providers and the general public.
Carers are in the best position to offer other Carers information and support. If you are a Carer, you can be linked with other Carers throughout the state that you live in, to share your experiences of caring and provide mutual support.
Carers Associations also offer programs that operate in metropolitan, rural and remote areas. Call your nearest resource centre for more information regarding these programs.
Retreats are a chance for a group of Carers to take a break from their caring responsibilities, be with other Carers and focus on their own needs.
The Carers Associations administers the Carer Retreats Program. Advice can be provided to Carer groups on planning a retreat.
In respite care, someone else takes over the responsibility of looking after the person you care for. It might be for a few hours, a day, or longer. It might be in your home, at a day centre, in a nursing home or hostel. It might enable you to go to an exercise class, attend a wedding, get your shopping done, or go on holidays. It can be a regular weekly event or something that only happens once a year.
Anyone who is a carer can ask for respite. You don't have to care full-time to be eligible. For example, if you go to work but always cook for the person you care for, it is possible to arrange meals (and housekeeping) for them if you want to go on holidays.
Respite care is intended to relieve the pressure of caring and to allow carers to have time for themselves. You don't need to be doing something "worthy" in order to apply - going to the movies is as good a reason as doing the shopping.
A bimonthly newsletter informs members of the latest developments for carers and is a way carers can exchange information and experiences.
Carer Support Groups
These groups give carers the opportunity to attain information about services available and how to cope with their situation in a supportive way. It also gives carers a regular and deserved break.
Library and Drop-in Centres
Open to Carers to browse through the library, watch an educational video, or just to sit down and relax, read the newspaper and enjoy a cup of tea. The libraries contain books and journals on carers specific topics.
General Services ProvidedFrontline telephone service - a caring listener Information on a wide range of services for Carers Appropriate referrals
Carer Support Kits in 10 community languages
Support for culturally and linguistically diverse
Carers Access to interpreting services
Looking After Yourself
Caring for someone with a mental illness can be very stressful, you must see to your own needs as well as the needs of the patient. Self-care is the essence of the Carers Associations message to family and friends. So remember:
1. Enjoy the good days.
2. Keep your sense of humour.
3. Focus on the positives, however small and however few.
4. Involve yourself with normality as much as possible.
5. Remember the equally valid needs of your healthy family members.
6. Remain in control of your life and home.
7. Let go of your sick adult relative. This does not mean abandonment.
8. Let go of guilt.
9. Become better informed.
10. Take heart. There is hope. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Membership at the Carers Association
The Carers Association is an incorporated body whose members are Carers, Service Providers, Carer Support Groups, Organisations and members of the community.
Involvement is open to anyone who supports the purpose and principles of the Carers Association.
As a member you receive up to date information on services, issues, events and forums of interest to Carers. You are also kept in touch with a network of Carers at a state, national and international level.
Organisations, groups, and individuals who are not Carers can lend their support by becoming an Associate member.
When you join the Carers Association in your state you will be sent a free information pack containing information regarding; the services offered and available, phone numbers to call and reading material, including reading material on all forms of disability's.
You will also receive a bimonthly newsletter, which keeps Carers up to date on relevant and important events and policy amendments, contains stories and poetry from Carers and their families and updates Carers and their families on new additions to Carer Resources.
Membership is open to all Carers, of all ages and backgrounds.
Membership also entitles you to many other services that Carers Associations offer, including:
the opportunity to add your voice and support to their efforts in gaining greater recognition and services for Carers.
receive your state quarterly newsletter and receive the Carers Association of Australia's newspaper. become part of a state, national and international network of Carers working together.
receive priority invitations and discounts to forums and special events.
influence government policies to address the needs of Carers.
use the telephone information and support service.
The Carers Associations work to improve recognition, services and support for Carers. Their central role is the collection and provision of information. They provide information to Carers to assist them in their caring role and to empower them in their dealings with service providers and health professionals. They provide information to service providers, health professionals and government about the needs and rights of Carers in order to effect changes in policy and service provision.
By becoming a member of the Carers Association in your state you will:
Lend your support to their efforts to improve recognition and services for Carers
Become part of a national network of Carers
Have the opportunity to express your concerns and ideas on matters affecting Carers
Receive a quarterly newsletter giving you up to date information about services and entitlements, and keeping you in touch with new developments on Carers issues
Have the opportunity to be nominated onto the Association's Council and Business Management Committee
A contribution towards the cost of the Care will be negotiated between the Coordinator and the Carer.
No Carer will be refused a service due to an inability to make a contribution.
Suggestions From The Carers Associations
Carers Associations are there to let you know that you are not alone and that there is help out there for you. Carers Associations will strive to:
Listen to what is important to Carers
Provide a one-stop shop for Carers offering culturally appropriate services tailored to their needs
Plan with the Carer and the Person receiving care, the most appropriate ways for meeting their respite care needs, facilitate the respite care of the Carer and the Person receiving care (including residential and in home respite)
Facilitate respite assistance in emergencies or unplanned situations
Assist Carers to access other services that are available in the community
Assist all Carers (including Parents of children who have a disability) to access respite care
Provide one on one support and counselling as requested
Provide telephone support from trained volunteers
Provide contact with other Carers at monthly get togethers for Carers and Parents in a variety of locations
Arrange short courses with small groups of Carers/Parents to assist them to maintain their own health and well being
Arrange a variety of organised outings including Carer's Day Off
Provide respite and transport to enable carers to attend activities organised by Carer Support & Respite Centre
Work collaboratively with other agencies to ensure equity and accessibility of all respite care services
Your Rights As A Carer
The Right to dignity and privacy
Your dignity and privacy must be respected by service providers, just as you should respect theirs. Your should be treated as an individual, taking into account such things as cultural background or any disability you may have.
The Right to be assessed for access to services without discrimination
Your access to services should be decided fairly and on the basis of your assessed need and the ability of services to meet that need.
The Right to be informed
You have a right to know which services are available, so that you can make your own decisions. Each service provider can give information about the service they provide, any costs that may be involved and your rights and responsibilities. They can also help you to get information about other services you might need.
The Right to choose from alternatives
As well as making choices about the services you want, you have the right to refuse service.
The Right to complain
If you have any concerns about the services you receive, tell you service provider and request a copy of the service's written complaints policy.
The Right to an advocate of your choice
An advocate can support you or act on your behalf to have your concerns addressed.
The Wider Network Carers Association
There is a Carers Association in each state, throughout Australia. Through their affiliation with each other, Carers in Australia can advocate at a federal level for changes to Commonwealth policy, particularly income support - such as pensions and benefits - and funding programs for respite.
There is a growing international network of Carers and Carer Organisations. This provides Carers with information of changes in other parts of the world.
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