Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Carers need care too

In Australia today, over 2.9 million people are providing help and health support to a family member or friend1. While these people spend their time thinking about the well being of another it’s vital that they consider their own health too. MedicAlert Foundation provides a service that can help protect them and those they care for...

Imagine being responsible for the care of someone who couldn’t look after themselves either as a result of illness, accident or old age. Being the person they rely on 24 hours a day, every day of the year. That’s the reality for many Australians who provide unpaid support to a family member, friend or neighbour in need of assistance.

Whether the role of being a carer is taken on by necessity or choice, all carers are special people who are to be admired for their selfless dedication to another’s wellbeing.

The very nature of being a carer demands that someone else’s needs are often put first and the job can be both physically and emotionally draining. Although often overlooked, carers need to consider their health and support too.

Carers need to eat well and drink plenty of water. Exercise and getting enough sleep are also important. Taking time out should always be a priority – getting together with friends regularly, joining a social group or getting away for a short holiday every now and then are all good ideas. It’s also important to remember that there are support organisations throughout Australia whose sole aim is to make life easier for those whose job it is to care for another.

MedicAlert Foundation also assists carers. It’s interesting to note that carers are 40 per cent more likely than the rest of the population to suffer from a chronic health condition1. For those carers afflicted with such a condition, a MedicAlert membership is a great idea.

But MedicAlert Foundation also provides peace of mind for those who are fortunate enough to be in good health. Members can wear an emblem that not only specifies any individual health conditions but their information can also communicate the fact that they are responsible for another’s well being too. Should their own personal medical emergency arise, carers can rest assured that their MedicAlert emblem will bring to the attention of healthcare responders that there’s someone dear to them requiring assistance.

Looking after yourself means you will be more effective in looking after others. So, if you’re a carer, please take the time to consider what you can do for yourself and those you care about, and remember, we’re always there for you.

  • 1Healey, J (ed.) 2012, Carers: Ageing and Disability, vol. 342, The Spiney Press.