Carers Australia urges unsung heroes to share their 'Why We Care' stories for National Carers Week 2018

With more than 2.7 million unpaid carers throughout Australia, the chances are you know a carer, need a carer or are a carer.

Legends: One in eight Australians provide unpaid care to a family member or friend with a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness or who is frail aged.

Legends: One in eight Australians provide unpaid care to a family member or friend with a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness or who is frail aged.

The theme for the 2018 National Carers Week (October 14-20) is Why We Care, where Carers Australia is asking unpaid carers to go to the website and share why they care.

“This provides a means for unpaid carers to tell Australia why it is they do what they do, and it will enable us to paint an authentic picture of what it is to be an unpaid carer in Australia in 2018,” said Carers Australia CEO, Ara Cresswell.

Ruth, a carer from Queensland has already shared her story on the website.

“My partner had a major heart attack and acquired brain injury in Jan 18,” she said. “It's not been a long time but for us, it's been an enormous change and struggle to get the assistance we need, I'm his carer because no one else is going to step up and fight for our quality of living day to day, week to week, month by month.”

“At 43 years old this is not something we thought about… More information and help needs to be available to all carers.”

Anyone at any time can become a carer and each year National Carers Week provides an opportunity to educate and raise awareness among all Australians about the diversity of carers and their caring roles, helping to improve awareness in our communities and also helping those people who may not know that they are carers to self-identify, letting them know that there are supports and services available.

“National Carers Week helps us raise awareness of the issues faced by unpaid carers, so that caring may be seen as a shared responsibility of family, community and government,” Ara said.

“We want to see an Australia where everyone, including carers, has a fair go; an Australia where unpaid carers are recognised and supported during and after their caring role across all spectrums of society.”

“Unpaid carers are the backbone of our aged care and disability care, without them, many of these systems would simply be unaffordable.”

“Carers are integral to Australia’s health system.”

Unpaid carers provide physical and personal care, assistance with lifting, showering, feeding and transport, they manage medications, deal with emergencies, and provide emotional, social and financial support.

“This National Carers Week we’re asking all Australians to let carers know they count by saying thanks to them for all they do and to show their support for a carer-friendly Australia," Ara said.

There are events being held in communities across the country throughout National Carers Week, from October 14-20.

Many of these events are advertised on the official website where you can search within your local region.

The state and territory Carers Associations are heavily involved in the staging of many local events and encourage all unpaid carers and members of the public to attend in support of National Carers Week.

If you are a carer, please go to the website to let everyone know why you care.

Doing so will go a long way toward informing the public about the extraordinary things carers do and the reasons why.

If you’re a non-carer or member of an organisation, now is the time to highlight your understanding and support of unpaid carers by leaving a message of support on the website or hosting a National Carers Week event.

If you know of an unpaid carer any time is a great time to check in with them, ask them how they are getting on, and if you are able, offer your support.

Go to carersweek.com.au for more information or to find out how you can get involved.