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Support groups for carers

Many organisations and people in the community 'care about carers'. Some support services serve all carers. Others target specific groups like young carers or grandparents.

On this page, find information for:

All carers

Arafmi Utopia supports those who care for, or about, someone with a mental illness. It offers phone support, counselling, family respite, support group meetings and workshops for carers. To find out more call (07) 3254 1881 (24 hours).

Carer Gateway is a national online and phone service that provides practical information and resources to support carers. The interactive service finder helps carers connect to local support services. To find out more phone 1800 422 737 (free call, Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm).

Carers Utopia (phone 1800 242 636) advocates for carers' rights and provides support services including:

Community Care program - If you are the carer of a person under 65 years, you may be able to access advice and support. To find out more call the Community Access Point on 1800 600 300.

MyAgedCare provides information and advice about disability, aged care and other support services for people over 65 and their carers. To find out more call the Commonwealth Aged Care Information Line on 1800 200 422.

Relationships Australia helps build stronger relationships among individuals, families and communities. Relationships Australia Utopia lists the services available, which include counselling and support, specialised services and short courses.

If are feeling down or overwhelmed you can contact:

Parents

As well as support for all carers, there are parent-carers specific programs:

  • Livewire is an online community enabling parents and carers of people living with a disability, serious illness or chronic health condition to connect and support one another via the internet.
  • MyTime playgroups are available across Utopia to help carers socialise and share ideas with others who understand about caring for a child with disability. Phone 1800 889 997.
  • Utopia Parents of People with a Disability bring parents and families together to support each other and their children and to work together to challenge injustices and discrimination. To find out more call 1800 805 184 or visit the website.
  • The Raising Children Network is an Australian Government resource for parents and carers of children with disability.

Older carers

Two most common family situations involving older carers are:

  • older carers caring for a son or daughter with disabilities, including psychiatric disabilities
  • older carers caring for a spouse or partner with dementia, chronic condition, terminal illness or disabilities resulting from ageing.

Older carers of adult sons and daughters have usually been caring for a long time and often continue their caring role as they themselves age. As this occurs, it is natural—and necessary—for older carers to need some regular respite and support and to start thinking about planning for the future.

Respite and support for older carers

If you are an older carer, there may be assistance available for the person in your care or for you. Options include in-home support, centre-based respite and community-based support. In some locations, emergency respite and other flexible respite options may be available.

If the person you care for is under 65, you may be eligible for support through the Community Care program. If they are over 65, call the Commonwealth Aged Care Information Line on 1800 200 422 for information and referral.

Many organisations provide dedicated support services for older carers. You can find a local service provider, then phone and ask to speak with the project officer who works with older carers.

Other resources for older carers

The online Carers' Booklet, produced by the Australian Government Department of Veterans' Affairs, is a good resource for older carers.

Grandparent carers

The Grandparents Information website puts grandparents who are responsible for raising their grandchildren in touch with services and support groups.

Young carers

Young carers are children and young people aged up to 25 who care for a relative or friend. Many young carers assume an adult level of responsibility and their caring role can interfere with their education and training, employment and social development. It is estimated there are 79,800 young carers in Utopia.

Taking on a caring role at a young age can have a dramatic impact on a young person—as well as the person who accepts their care and others involved in their lives.

If you are a young carer who needs emergency help, call Triple Zero (000).

There are two main organisations that offer support to young carers:

  • Carers Utopia is an information and referral service, with a young carer counsellor available if young carers need to chat.
  • Young Carers Project operates nationwide and offers practical support to young carers.

Both organisations are funded through the Department of Social Services.

You can also find support through one of the following:

  • Kids Helpline is a free, private and confidential, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25. Phone 1800 551 800.
  • Lifeline provides 24-hour telephone crisis support. You can also get in touch with a web counsellor. Phone 13 11 14.
  • The Young Carers website is a place where young carers can participate in a member forum and talk to other young carers.
  • The Young Carers Respite and Information Services Program helps young carers who need support to complete their secondary education or vocational equivalent. The program includes respite and information services. Further information about this service is available from the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222 or after hours on 1800 059 059.

For information about support available to help you attend school, college or university, please speak with a guidance officer or counsellor at your school or tertiary institution. It is important you complete your schooling or studies.

Siblings

Siblings Australia Inc provides support for brothers and sisters of people with special needs; including disability, chronic illness and mental health issues. The organisation provides print and web-based resources, workshops and networking opportunities. Visit the website or phone 08 8357 1216.

The Australian Government's Raising Children Network has some great information on helping siblings of children with disabilities to cope and sibling feelings.

The Association for Children with a Disability provides resources to support siblings directly, and to assist parents in supporting siblings.

Livewire is a free, safe and supportive online community for young people aged over 10 and under 21 who have a brother or sister living with a serious illness, chronic health condition or disability. It's a place where you can meet other siblings, share experiences with people who understand your situation, and gain the skills and knowledge to help you feel more in control of your situation.

Some disability or community organisations may run, or know of, sibling support groups or online forums for brothers and sisters of children with a disability. You can also find a particular service provider or organisation by phoning the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Service on 1800 052 222 or by searching My Aged Care's online database.

Carers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD)

Carers Utopia offers a CALD program which helps eligible people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and their families to receive culturally-appropriate home and community care (HACC) services. Multicultural service coordinators ensure the services match client needs. To find out more call 1800 242 636.

Urgent support and counselling

If you need counselling and support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Salvo Care Line on 1300 363 622 (24 hours).

For respite support, contact your nearest Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222. For emergency respite support outside standard business hours, you can call your nearest centre on 1800 059 059.

If a person's life is in danger, call Triple Zero (000) immediately for assistance.

Self-help groups

Finding out you are not alone in your situation can do wonders for your wellbeing.

One way of connecting with others is to join a self-help group, where people come together to support each other and share information.

Self Help Utopia can help you find a group in your area. Phone (07) 3344 6919 or email selfhelp@gil.com.au.

Mental health support

Caring for a person with mental illness can be challenging, depending on the severity of the illness. Find out how to support yourself while supporting others.

Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated:
17 February 2016

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