This year, National Carers Week will run from Sunday 13 October to Saturday 19 October 2019. National Carers Week is all about recognising and celebrating the outstanding contribution that unpaid carers make to Australia.
Every week in Australia, 2.7 million family and friend carers provide 36 million hours of care to family members or friends who have a disability, mental illness, drug dependency, alcohol dependency, a chronic condition, terminal illness, or who is frail. Per week, the value of that unpaid care is $1.1 billion. That means, yearly, the government saves $60.3 billion.
Too often, these unpaid carers are left unrecognised and, in general, undervalued. National Carers Week is about recognising and celebrating the invaluable work carers contribute to our nation. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness among all Australians and educate them about how diverse carers and their caregiving roles can be as well as the issues that they face. Anyone can become a carer at any time.
National Carers Week is about encouraging the self-identification of hidden carers as well as the recognition of hidden carers by their family and friends. It also aims to educate carers about the services and resources that are available to them as well as encouraging them to seek help.
If you want to help raise awareness about the integral role carers play in Australian society, you can do so by engaging with local businesses, schools, the media, colleagues, friends and family. You can even host your own event, write a media release, or call or write to your local member of parliament.
If you opt for hosting your own event, you can get creative with the type of event you host – it can be anything, including a movie night, a trivia night, a morning tea, a bake sale, an auction, or a pyjama day at work. Alternatively, if you’re unable to host event, you can attend a nearby one and help raise awareness and attendance by sharing it on social media.
Any money raised at National Carers Week events helps to improve the support and services available to carers provided by the state Carers Association. It will also go towards supporting young carers to engage with each other, learning skills and advocating for their peers. Furthermore, it will also influence government policy by continuing research and advocacy work.
If you have a carer story to tell – whether it’s your own or the story of someone you admire – you can take part in the ‘Tell Us Why You Care’ call to action by heading to the National Carers Week website. You can also share your stories of caring on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by tagging them with #Carers2019 and #WhyWeCare. By taking part you can help demonstrate the diversity and ubiquity of unpaid carers in Australia.
By participating in National Carers Week, you can help make a tangible difference in the support unpaid carers receive. It is also an opportunity for Australia to give the unsung heroes of our community the recognition they deserve.