Family carers may need resources to help them provide care.

Advice for carers

Things you might like to know:
  • diagnosis and prognosis (outlook)
  • what a carer can do
  • the cause of the disease
  • likely symptoms and how to manage them
  • treatment options and side effects
  • what to do at the end of life.
There may also be pressing practical questions, such as ways to access equipment, transport or home help.

If you would like this kind of information, talk with a health professional involved in the care of the older person for whom you provide care. Writing a list of questions first may be a good strategy.

Case study

Jack & Vera

Jack has been the carer for his wife, Vera, for several years. Vera has advanced dementia. Due to the progression of her dementia, about six months ago, Vera started to become agitated and to wander. Initially, Jack was unsure of what to do about these behaviours and worried that he might not be able to continue caring for Vera at home.

Jack called Alzheimer’s Australia and was told how he could occupy and distract Vera so that she would be more settled. The nurses and care workers then worked with Jack to put these strategies in place. In this way, Vera’s agitation and wandering were reduced and Jack was able to continue providing care at home. Although he still gets tired from the care that he provides, Jack is less stressed now and better able to enjoy spending time caring for Vera.

What the research shows

If you are very frail or disabled because of a stroke, your family carer’s health can be helped if they receive stroke-specific information, education and skills training.

If you have advanced cancer, your family carer’s health can be helped if they receive cancer-specific information, education and skills training.

When an older person has moderate or severe dementia, their family carer’s health can be helped if they receive dementia-specific information, education and skills training.

What the experts agree upon

Helping a family carer to provide effective care can help make the caring experience more meaningful for them.

What this means for older people

Ask a health care professional (eg a nurse) about suitable family carer information, education and training.

See the Community Care Guidelines for more details (see page 7).

The Australian Government National Carer Counselling Program is operated by Carers Australia.
For more information please visit Carers Australia website.
Telephone: 1800 242 636

The Australian Government National Dementia Helpline, which is operated by Alzheimer’s Australia, or the state-based branches of this organisation, is an excellent resource for family carers of people who have dementia.
For more information please visit Alzheimers website.
Telephone: 1800 100 500

Aged Care Information
For information on:
  • aged care services in your region
  • carer support, counselling, respite and advocacy.
For more information please visit Aged Care Australia website.
Telephone: 1800 200 422

Advice for carers

It is very important to look after your own health and ask for help when you need it. However much you want to provide care, you can only do this if you look after your own needs too.