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MS Australia Let Carers Know They Count

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17 October 2017

National Carers Week, 15-21 October, 2017

October 15-21 is National Carers Week – a chance to thank those who care for the 23,000+ people living with MS in Australia.

Carers make an enormous contribution to our communities in Australia and their caring roles are valued at $60.3 billion annually – more than $1 billion per week! 

Caring for someone with a chronic illness like MS can be deeply satisfying but also physically and emotionally exhausting.

The role of the carer for someone living with MS increases with symptom severity. A 2012 study showed that those with severe symptoms were up to six times more likely to have a carer, compared to those with moderate and mild groups. The carer was most often (around 80%) a spouse or partner, but as we know, can also be a parent, friend or even a child.

It’s worth noting that, faced with other inevitable lifestyle changes, carers who continue their own activities or hobbies tend to thrive.

Is your workplace “carer-friendly”?

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.

This is why MSA supports Carers Australia “Work & Care” initiative that 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. Talk to your HR manager about Carers Australia’s Work and Care initiative and the possibility of your organisation becoming a carer-friendly workplace.

More information can be found at:  http://www.carersaustralia.com.au/work-and-care/

Practical support and information

As the National Disability Insurance Scheme continues to roll out, carers are even more critical. To put this in context, people with MS living with a disability and their carers want useful information and advice, and together must navigate the scheme’s planning process.

The State and Territory MS organisations provide excellent carer information, such as living with MS, symptom-management, primary carer training, carer camps, in-home and residential respite, how to access equipment, benefits and services, and agency referrals.

For state and territory links, select the MSA website ‘Support and Services’ tab:
https://www.msaustralia.org.au/

The Federal Government Carer Gateway portal has information, resources and links to local support services:
https://www.carergateway.gov.au/

Show your support during National Carers Week (15-21 October)
Join MS Australia and send a “thank you” message to all our unpaid carers across Australia via the Carers Australia website:
http://www.carersweek.com.au/