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Carers find it hard to identify themselves

A new initiative has been launched to connect Australia’s largest unpaid workforce with resources, especially in rural and regional areas.

Embracing Carers, released during National Carers Week, is a global movement to recognise the role of carers worldwide, and provide resources to help identify those in Australia who may not even realise they are fulfilling that role.

A staggering 2.7 million Australians (11 per cent) provide $60.3 billion of ‘free’ labour every year, equating to more than $1 billion per week.

“Research shows that nearly 80 per cent of carers do not self-identify as a carer and may not be aware of the emotional, financial and practical support and services available to them,” said Paul Lindsay, director of market access and government affairs at Merck Biopharma.

He said the idea presented itself a year ago, when the company became conscious about the role and support of carers, and the fact that some carers didn’t really understand whether they were defined as carers or know what resources are available to them.

“We got in touch with carer organisations around the world and decided to shine the spotlight on carers, so the Embracing Carers program was launched,” Lindsay said.

The aim was to garner attention and support for carers to make their lives easier.

He said the definition of a carer in Australia, as identified by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, was anyone who’s a friend or family of someone who has a chronic illness or mental condition and delivers unpaid care.

And with caring often seen as a labour of love it blurs the barriers.

“Research shows carers don’t always look after themselves, they often feel guilty if they do their own thing and consequently can suffer depression or comorbidities,” Lindsay said.

Here to shed more light on this is Lindsay.

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