It's easy to care for a carer
There are 857,000 carers in NSW. That's one in 10 people. If you aren't a carer yourself you probably already know at least one carer who you could recognise with simple gestures of support.
In our lifetime we are likely to either provide care to a family member or friend, or need care ourselves.
Some carers spend all day, every day, caring for someone else while others combine employment with caring. One thing carers tend to share in common is that they may not ask you for help – but that doesn't mean they don't need it.
When Greg Smith first became a carer for his mum Lyn he was working full time but as her needs increased he found it kept getting harder to combine work and care.
"I did have to stop working, at first full-time to part-time and then the uncertainty of each day meant I needed to be around more" said Greg.
Greg's mum will always come first so he became her full time carer.
This help that carers provide is fundamental to family life and community wellbeing yet it often goes unrecognised, even by family members and friends. Yet caring for a carer is simple. Gestures like picking up a few groceries or asking how it is to be a carer can show that you understand what life can be like for carers.
Greg helps his mum with medications and pain management and because her mobility is greatly restricted, he supports her to use walking aides and takes her wherever she needs or wants to go. Greg gets a lot of satisfaction from his caring role but he admits that the unpredictability of his caring role can make it hard to stay in touch with friends.
"Making new friends can be challenging, but if people took the time to ask me about my life as a carer they might see we aren't that different, it's just that helping mum comes first" said Greg.
11-17 October 2015 is Carers Week across Australia. It's a good time to think about the carers you know and what you can do to care for a carer. For more tips and ideas about how easy it is to care for a carer go to www.careforacarer.nsw.gov.au.