David Ford, a Ngunnawal man living in Canberra. For the past 19 years, he’s been the sole carer for his son, Will, who is blind, has cerebral palsy, had a stroke, plus has learning and an intellectual disability. So, it’s a great time to introduce David one of 2.65 million unpaid carers during this week of National Carers Week 2020. 3KND Big Brekkie yarns with David about the challenges that life’s thrown at him, and how he’s dealt with them.
David says, “Don’t be ashamed or too proud to ask for help. Recognise that you are a carer and reach out to your local carer organisation for advice and support”. A carer is anyone, including children and adults who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction and cannot cope without their support.
The care they give is unpaid. National Carers Week 2020 runs from 11-17 October and aims to raise awareness of unpaid carers and their caring role in Australia.
The theme of the week is Why We Care, which asks people to visit the Carers Week website and ‘Tell Us Why You Care’ – providing a means for unpaid carers to tell Australia why they fulfil a caring role, and for non-carers to publicly acknowledge and celebrate our unpaid carers.
Some key points: 1) Unpaid carers have played a major role in flattening the curve of COVID-19 infections by sheltering at home and keeping vulnerable Australians safe. 2) The impacts on the wellbeing of unpaid carers have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. 3) There are 2.65 million unpaid carers in Australia who provide unpaid care and support to family members and friends. 4) It’s estimated that carers will provide 2.2 billion hours of unpaid care in 2020. 5) The replacement cost of that care if it were to be provided by a paid workforce is estimated to be almost $78 billion, or just under $1.5 billion per week. 6) The rate of employment among primary carers (those who provide the most care for an individual) is 47.3%, compared with the Australian average of 65%. 7) The estimated forgone earnings of all unpaid carers is $15.2 billion, or 0.8% of GDP. 60% of all unpaid carers are female, a figure which increases to 70% when considering only primary carers.