Everyone has a role to play as a carer. For instance, parents care for their children and vice versa. On the other hand, people care for their family and friends who are convalescing or recovering from an accident. The statistics reveal that more than 700,000 Victorians act as a personal carer for a senior family member, relation, or friend who cannot get about on his/her own. The chances are you will be cared for or take on the carer role at some point in your life.
Types of Carers
The word “carer” could mean different things to different people. There are paid, unpaid, professional such as the services provided by Gabriel’s Angels, as well as lay carers out there. Most of the time, family and friends may not consider them as a carer since they may simply be playing their role as a father, mother, brother, son, friend, or daughter.
A carer could help a person become independent, well, and healthy as possible. The carer will help the individual stay connected with his/her family, friends, community, and be physically and mentally fit. Sometimes, a carer may help an individual do his/her work such as banking, housework, shopping, and other functions. There are also carers who play intensive care roles helping the individual with all his/her daily tasks such as bathing, feeding, dressing, cooking, giving the medicines and going to the bathroom.
Planning to Become a Carer?
The role of a carer is quite a big commitment. You may have to give up many other activities and responsibilities such as other work opportunities – which can have a significant financial impact on the life of the carer. You should consider the following when deciding whether to become a carer:
- How much of care does the individual need? Should you care only for a few hours a day or stay all day long? Will you get any free time during the day?
- Can you support the individual continue doing what he/she loves to do? Would anyone else help you?
- How are you going to support the individual’s independence, well-being, and health? Although the individual’s care needs may change over time, maintaining health, well-being and independence are always essential.
- What type of care does the individual require? Does he/she require assistance with a few tasks such as meals, laundry, and taking the medicines? Or else, do they require assistance in more basic needs such as eating, dressing, showering, and to go to the toilet? Are you in a position to provide all the support required by the person?
There are many rewards to caring such as:
- The satisfaction that comes with knowing that you have helped someone in need.
- Building a solid relationship with the individual you care for.
- The opportunity to develop new skills and grow as a person.
- The confidence that comes with knowing that you can meet new challenges.
- The acknowledgement that you get from the individual you care and from his/her family.
There are many challenges that come with caring for a person. Some of these challenges include:
- The financial hardships you may experience due to giving up or cutting back hours in your paid job.
- The physical and emotional toll involved in looking after a disabled or senior individual day and night.
- The lack of satisfaction that you may have got from your previous job or career – which would have been more stimulating and interesting than being a carer.
- Developing health concerns such as anxiety, back issues, depression, and other problems.
- Missing out on many social opportunities and activities such as recreational and leisure activities.
- The continuous and boring nature of some care jobs out there.
A carer plays an important part in today’s society. They create numerous social and economic advantages for themselves, the people they care for, and the community as a whole.