The Role of a Carer

By: British Red Cross.

Many people assume caring roles throughout their lives. For instance, parents take care of their children. Once they grow up, children take care of their ageing parents. Also, people take care of their relatives or friends who have fallen ill or unable to take care of themselves because of an accident.

More than 700,000 residents of Victoria care for elderly relatives or friends with needs, especially those with a disability, suffer from mental health or any other chronic health issues. At some point in your life, you will assume the position of a caregiver to someone in your life. To different people, the term carer has different meanings.

For instance, it could be paid professional service provided by reputed companies such as Gabriel’s Angels, unpaid volunteering and lay carers. Some people don’t consider themselves as carers because they are playing their role as a supportive partner, daughter, friend, sister or father. Thanks to a caregiver, a person receiving the care will become healthy, independent and well. For instance, the carer will help the person become connected to the local community.

Additionally, the caregiver helps the person eat healthy food and also become mentally and physically active. As a carer, you might also help people with simple tasks like shopping, banking, housework, if the person is a little independent. On the other hand, you might have a more intensive job of helping the person with daily tasks like dressing, bathing, feeding, taking medication or using the toilet.

How to Become a Carer

Becoming a carer is a huge commitment. You will be forced to give up your responsibilities, activities, and work opportunities that will have a huge financial impact.

Are you thinking about becoming a caregiver, here are some of the things you should consider?

  • How much care is needed? Can you provide care a few hours every day or will it be the whole day and night? Is there someone else to help?
  • Is there any support you can provide to the recipient allowing them to continue doing everything they love in their local community or at home? Is there someone who can help?
  • How can you provide support to improve the person’s health, independence and overall well-being? Although the recipient’s interests and capabilities might change with time, they need to maintain their health, independence and wellbeing at all times.
  • What type of care is required? Do they need assistance with some tasks such as doing laundry, taking medicines or preparing meals? Do they need more assistance such as dressing, showering, eating, going to the toilet? Are you able to provide the support they need?

As a carer, there are many rewards you can enjoy such as the following:

  • You gain the satisfaction of helping someone who needs your assistance and allowing them to improve their quality of life.
  • Creating a personal relationship with the person you’re caring for
  • Developing new skills and creating a huge opportunity for growth
  • Meeting new challenges as proof of personal development
  • Appreciation from the recipient of your care as well as their acknowledgement from friends and family

However, you should also expect some challenges in your job such as the following:

  • There will be a financial hardship because you had to give up your job or career or cut back on some hours
  • There’s an emotional toll from taking care of another person the entire day or night
  • Lack of satisfaction from your previous job or career
  • You might develop some health issues such as depression, anxiety or back problems
  • Some people require continuous care which might be exhausting to you
  • You might feel isolated especially after missing the social opportunities from recreation, work or leisure activities

Carers have an important role to play in any society by creating many economic and social benefits for themselves, the recipients and the whole community.