This week National Seniors released a report titled ‘Who Cares? Seniors do.’
The report is the result of a major investigation involving over 4,000 participants and found that unpaid carers are facing challenges looking after their loved ones whilst being poorly supported, and almost unrecognised. These people are now providing care through the COVID-19 crisis.
The key findings of the report were:
Of 4,139 participants aged 50+ in the survey, 22% were providing care to partners, parents and adult children
They did this, unpaid, out of love
They spent an average of 26 hours a week caring and some were full-time, 7-days a week
Over half of these unpaid carers provided high to medium levels of care
Most did not have care plans nor had they accessed government support
They had more health problems than others who were not providing care, and
More practical, psychological and informational support is needed to maintain this essential workforce.
“We’ve found that older carers provide care to loved ones at no expense to the economy, but it’s at the expense of their own health, wellbeing and finances,” said National Seniors Australia CEO, Professor John McCallum.
“This care work is continuing on through the pandemic but without the recognition that volunteer firefighters received during the bushfires. They are truly unsung heroes when you look at the statistics.”
“As we accumulate debt stopping the spread of COVID-19, this volunteer care workforce will become even more important, so it makes sense to support and recognise their service. They are the care workers who we haven’t yet applauded,” said Professor McCallum.