The Examiner published an article on October 15 2020 – 6:30AM
By Jessica Willard
Almost one-in-three Tasmanian carers have either had to quit their job, stop looking for work or have reduced working hours in order to carry out the care of a loved one, a new survey has found.
Mental health services have also not been able to help carers into work, or offer them a break from providing care.
The survey results were released to coincide with the start of National Carers Week, highlighting the $2.2 billion in replacement value provided by carers to the Tasmanian economy every year.
Carers Tasmania chief executive officer David Brennan said the survey was designed to provide a comprehensive state-by-state breakdown of carer issues in an attempt to influence policy decisions.
“This first national survey highlights the impact on carers’ emotional wellbeing and general circumstances is significant, made more so by COVID lock-downs,” Mr Brennan said.
“We owe Tasmania’s 85,000 family carers a debt of gratitude for stepping-up to provide increased levels of care in areas like financial management, practical and emotional supports and medication management.”
Other results from the survey indicated that one-in-three never get a break from their carer responsibilities, many not being asked about their own needs when accessing services for their loved one, and almost half experiencing high or very high psychological distress.
One-in-four reported spending more money than they earned in the past 12 months.
For those attempting to access aged care services, the long waiting time was the most common issue for Tasmanian carers.
It was not all negative results, however, with most finding that the National Disability Insurance Scheme was meeting the care recipients needs and their quality expectations. The NDIS was not seen as easy to organise and had not resulted in carers being able to stay in work.
The survey attracted more than 7700 responses nationwide, with Tasmania recording one of the highest response rates.
Tasmania also has an above-average rate of carers, with one-in-six Tasmanians taking on caring responsibilities compared with the national average of one-in-eight. Almost half were caring for a partner or spouse, and a third caring for a child.