CAPTURED: The lovely carers attending the STEPS Care for Carers program.
CAPTURED: The lovely carers attending the STEPS Care for Carers program. Janine Mewburn

Make sure you Care for Carers

DURING National Carers Week, it is important to not only recognise those being cared for, but also those doing the caring.

STEPS Group Australia Care for Carers facilitator Janine Mewburn believes that giving carers more support is a necessity in every community.

"It's would be about a $60.3 billion cost per year to replace those that are in a caring role, should they all decide to stop. I know just from our face-to-face support groups that there's also carers out there that aren't counted in that," she said.

"There are a lot of parents out there going above and beyond a parental role that are coming to our group, that technically aren't carers. This also includes a lot of sons and daughters that may not be eligible for carer payments. It's very important to acknowledge all of these carers."

The Care for Carers program not only acknowledges these carers, but it can be a pillar of support if they are struggling.

"The whole program is around supporting carers and keeping them strong. Linking them with services that keeps them strong.

"We provide support to people who are in a caring role, whether they have an age-related illness, or a disability," Ms Mewburn said.

This is assisted by a range of activities and meetings held by the STEPS group.

"We have monthly meetings across our contracted region, including Bundaberg, Childers, Gin Gin, Hervey Bay, Maryborough, and Kingaroy," she said.

"These are peer support groups where groups of carers get together, and they debrief and talk about any issues or good news stories they've had within their caring roles.

"We also run a series of workshops that are self-care workshops, and that's to enhance resilience in carers and to keep them strong in their caring roles, so they know they're not alone and what they might be feeling is not abnormal."

As it is National Carers Week, it is important to keep checking in on those who are caring for others.

"If you know of someone who's a carer, maybe just acknowledge how they're going. Often, they'll be caring for someone who is a family member, and friends and families will ask how that family member is going... whereas the carer needs some support too," Ms Mewburn said.

"They also need some time out, too. Assist them and give them a chance to walk around the block or clear their head."

To provide further assistance, you can refer them to STEPS Care for Carers program.

"If you know of carers that might benefit from the program, you can send them along to our groups and group meetings," Ms Mewburn said.