Being a Carer

Being a Carer

If you are reading this, it is likely that you, or someone you know, is caring for a person with a disability. Whilst unconditional love and support are at the foundations of a caring relationship, it can also take a toll on the carer’s sense of independence, wellness, and life balance. Carers are at a high risk of burn-out in the role and at times it can be exhausting, both physically and emotionally.

To be able to continue caring for others, it is important to care of ourselves; we should give ourselves the same level of care and love, that we give to those we care for. 

Here are 5 things to note when caring for someone with a disability:

    1. You are not alone

You don’t have to do this alone. Whilst there may not be any other family members or wider people in your circle to help, there are a huge range of free services in Victoria that are specifically geared towards Carers.

Reach out and get some free help; whether that be support with cooking and cleaning around the house or having someone to look after your loved one while you go fill up your wellness cup.


    1. Take a break

When we are burnt out, we can get compassion fatigue. And yes, compassion fatigue is an actual thing, which happens when the impact of helping others takes a toll on our physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual selves. Compassion fatigue and burn out go hand in hand, and the signs include a sense of hopelessness, helplessness, irritability, anger, sadness, overwhelm or numbness. So taking regular breaks not only from the task of caring, but from our other roles and responsibilities, are essential.

How to take the breaks you need, as carer?

  • Call for help from the services listed below, to get some respite
  • Get a friend or family member to help for an hour whilst you do something you love
  • Get up a bit earlier than the person you’re caring for, and do an activity that fills you with pleasure, joy or calm
  • Find a group for your loved one that they can go to for an hour, such as arts and crafts, a book-club or group cooking classes; you can then use that free time to take a break while they have enriching time away as well.


    1. Talk to someone

There are local support groups where you can meet people experiencing similar situations, which can help with feelings of isolation that can occur as a carer. This could lead to creating a community for yourself, not only to provide visibility, validation and support but also practical advice and help.

You can also reach out to any of the support numbers listed below at any time, to speak with someone if you are stressed or struggling. Go through your local council website or give them a call to find out services in your area.

Talking to a psychologist or counsellor can be helpful, as they can provide professional support and advise, as well as be a safe and discrete place to talk about what you are experiencing.


    1. You don’t have to be the perfect carer

Make the standards you set for yourself as a carer be realistic. This means that the standards should be sustainable, flexible and be led by your capacity and scope.

It’s okay if you can’t do it all. It’s okay if you are struggling and you are needing time out, this doesn’t make you a bad carer or a bad person-it simply makes you human.

You are doing the best you can.


    1. Extra help

Talk to your workplace about Carers Leave; this could help by getting that extra time off to care for yourself. There is also financial support available for those caring for others. Do look at the link below for Services Australia and see if you are eligible for extra funding.

Caring for people with a disability is complex and whatever comes up for you is totally okay. The important thing to remember is to care for yourself, so you can effectively take care of others.



Carers Gateway
1800 422 737

Carers Victoria
1800 514 845

Disability Gateway
1800 643 787

Care Giver Organisation

Services Australia

Peer Support Groups

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