There are a number of ways to get involved this National Carers Week.
The easiest way to show carers how much they count is to say thanks and help build a carer-friendly Australia.
Show carers how much they count with your own event
We're asking everyone to get involved in National Carers Week by attending or hosting a National Carers Week event. This can be a morning tea, afternoon tea, a walk or some other activity.
Help raise awareness this National Carers Week by rounding up workmates, friends and family for a social event and drawing attention to who carers are, what they do and how they can access services and supports.
Organise a morning or afternoon tea, fundraiser or workshop to raise awareness of the diversity of carers and caring roles in Australia.
Unpaid carers often find it hard to take time out. By organising your own event you are providing an opportunity for carers to take that time, whilst also informing friends and colleagues of the support services available and encouraging greater appreciation of carers’ contribution.
Make your workplace carer-friendly
With 1 in 8 Australian employees in a caring role, becoming a carer-friendly workplace and providing flexible working conditions for carers makes sense for employers and employees.
The Work & Care initiative helps employers attract and retain experienced workers by helping employee carers combine paid work with their caring role, and helps long-term carers on income support transition into employment when their caring role has ceased or is reduced.
There are many reasons carers work while providing unpaid care, from financial necessity to social interaction. There will be times when balancing these two roles is challenging.
Help make sure Carers Count by ordering a Work & Care information pack and becoming a registered Carer‑Friendly Workplace – this video will show you how!
Check below for ideas on the number of ways you can get involved with National Carers Week and show your support of Australia’s 2.8 million carers, whether as an individual, employer, public figure or member of a community group.
When individuals show their support, it can make a great collective difference. By raising awareness as an individual, you can help to increase self-identification among unpaid carers. This National Carers Week:
- Spread the word about National Carers Week on social media using the hashtag #carers2016 and ask your friends and family to get involved
- Go to the National Carers Week website and show your support by saying Thank You to carers
- Host an event – it doesn’t have to be an extravaganza, it can be as simple as a morning tea with your friends or work colleagues
- Download and display one of our fabulous posters around your community or in your workplace
- Promote carer-friendly practices in your workplace
- Contact your local MP via Twitter or Facebook and ask them to publicly support National Carers Week
- Write to your local MP or council and ask how they will support National Carers Week this year
- At work, ask your HR Department or manager if you can circulate information on National Carers Week among your colleagues
- Talk to your HR manager about Carers Australia’s Work and Care initiative and the possibility of your organisation becoming a carer-friendly workplace
Elected representatives have a fantastic reach among local communities and the wider population. The decisions politicians make can go a long way to helping carers in their constituency. As a politician, this National Carers Week you can:
- Show your support for carers by offering your thanks via the National Carers Week website, hosting an event or downloading and displaying one of our posters
- Show your support during the week with regular posts on your social media platforms, using the hashtag #carers2016 – and remember, a picture is worth a thousand words!
- Use your constituency meetings to advertise the available services and supports for carers
- Raise carers’ concerns at all levels of debate
- If you feel comfortable doing so, share any caring experiences you may have had to illustrate how caring can affect all walks of life
General Practitioners have a high degree of daily exposure to unpaid carers and those they care for. A GP clinic is therefore an ideal place to raise awareness of unpaid carers and promote National Carers Week. This National Carers Week, GPs can:
- Encourage carer identification by displaying information in your surgery on carers and the supports and services available
- Include carer information on the brochure display board in your clinic
- Include information about carers on your clinic website – this can be sourced from the Carers Australia website or any other state/territory Carers Association website
- Offer flexible appointment times for carers
- Note on patient records whether they are caring for someone or have someone caring for them, so you can check how they are managing and if they need support or services to help them
- Source information on caring from Carers Australia or local Carers Associations and provide to relevant patients during consultations.
Many patients in hospitals will at some point be cared for by a relative or friend. By supporting unpaid carers as part of the overall care team, the patient themselves becomes better supported. During National Carers Week there are many actions hospitals can take to become more carer-friendly:
- Set-up information portals to connect carers and families to available supports and services
- Ensure that staff are aware of unpaid carers and their issues, as part of the care team
- Ensure that family members are provided with the correct information and advice on how to care safely
- Introduce carer-friendly policies in the workplace, such as allowing some carers to spend time with the person for whom they care outside of visiting hours, or providing them with discounted parking
- Involve carers in decisions about their loved ones’ care, including discharge planning if the patient agrees
- Connect carers to their local Carers Association for further support services
Pharmacies and community health services often have a greater interaction with carers compared to other service providers. You can take advantage of this contact by:
- Encouraging carer-identification by displaying information on carers and the supports available in the form of carer brochures and National Carers Week posters
- Advertising the availability of local carer supports and services and other information on your website
- Advising and assisting carers on the administration of medication and its potential side effects
- Offering a medication review, with permission from the patient
Carers Australia has partnered with Sigma, a pharmacy wholesale and distribution organisation with the largest pharmacy network in Australia. To find out more about the partnership and the specials available to carers during National Carers Week, take a look at relevant catalogues, magazines and websites.
There is a high probability that you will have unpaid carers within your community group, particularly if your group has a high percentage of older people or women. Many people with caring responsibilities don’t think of themselves as carers and often miss out on services and supports as a result. This National Carers Week:
- Invite a carer or someone who works with carers to speak about caring at your next meeting
- If you are a carer, you might like to talk about caring for relatives and friends at one of your meetings
- Have brochures on caring available at your next meeting and display posters celebrating National Carers Week
- Email links to information and supports to your group members
- Check to see if any members of your group are carers – they may have difficulty attending meetings due to transport arrangements or scheduling. See how you can help them – offer a lift there or back, or look at changing the meeting schedules.
If you run a local business, there is plenty you can do to help unpaid carers during National Carers Week:
- If possible, make adjustments to ensure your business is accessible to people with disability. This will be a massive help to improve carers’ lives.
- Display posters for National Carers Week and if possible, have some brochures available for clients/customers
- Advertise your carer-friendly benefits, such as home delivery, flexible appointment times, or free or discounted entry or parking if the carer is with the person for whom they care
Colleges, schools and universities can identify young people and adults with caring responsibilities. Carers can be any age. All levels of education and training, from primary school to secondary and tertiary education have important roles to play in carers’ lives. If you are a teacher, lecturer or professor, this National Carers Week:
- Take steps to find out what you can do to identify students who have a caring responsibility and support them to get the help they need to ensure their studies are not affected
- Ensure staff are aware of the age-appropriate supports available to students who have caring responsibilities
- Provide flexiblility with internal deadlines and timetables
- Offer remote access (such as Skyping into a class) or distance learning where possible
- Display posters for National Carers Week and if possible, have some brochures available for students
Research shows that 1 in 8 Australian employees is an unpaid carer trying to balance their caring responsibilities with their work life. For unpaid carers, the ability to work is often a financial necessity. They, too, want to maintain their career aspirations and also look to work as a means of social interaction and participation in society.
The Work & Care initiative aims to improve the capacity of carers to combine employment with their caring responsibilities, and assist long-term carers on income support to transition into employment when their caring role has ceased or is reduced. This National Carers Week:
- Take the first steps to becoming a carer-friendly workplace via the Work & Care initiative
- Promote your support of National Carers Week via an intranet network or around the workplace by hosting an event, downloading and displaying our posters, or giving carers a big Thank You via the National Carers Week website
- HR Departments can use National Carers Week to highlight positive messages and the supports available to carers