Who Cares for the carers? Carer Gateway!

The Prader-Willi Syndrome Association of Victoria asked Carers Victoria to provide some information that we could share that would help carers understand that there is support out there and carers do not have to feel that they are alone. Carers Victoria have provided the following information, which we hope you’ll find helpful.

A carer is a person who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend with a disability, mental illness, chronic health issue or age-related condition.  

www.carersvictoria.org.au

Carers Victoria is the statewide voice for family carers, representing and providing support to carers in Victoria. They work to ensure that caring is a shared responsibility of family, community and government. Carers Victoria want to support carers better and want to make carers’ lives better.

Some of Carers Victoria core work includes

  • Being the ‘voice’ of carers
  • Raising awareness of carers and caring in our communities
  • Being the place to go for all carers and for information about carers
  • Providing effective, quality services and programs to support the needs of carers and the people they care for
  • Create innovative services and products to meet the needs and service gaps for carers and the people they care for

Recently, the Australian Government has re-designed services for carers to better suit carers needs. Under the new arrangements, funding for existing services have merged into a single Carer Gateway. Carers Victoria is providing services on behalf of the Carer Gateway in the western metro region

The new arrangement begun in April 2020 and provides carers with a single point of entry within their region to have their needs assessed and be referred to supports such as in-person counselling, coaching and peer support.

The Carer Gateway provides support to carers across Victoria and offers in-person counselling, connects carers with other carers (peer support), coaching, carer directed support (including packages), respite care, which includes planned and emergency respite.  

You are eligible regardless of whether the person you’re caring for is on a package (NDIS, Home Care Package (HCP)), or receiving other supports such as Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP). There are no citizenship or residency requirements – asylum seekers can receive Carer Gateway support. Centrelink payments (Carer allowance, etc.) do not affect eligibility in any way. 

Online support can be accessed at www.carergateway.gov.au. This includes free telephone counselling, online carer coaching, peer support and skills courses. Carer Gateway can also help carers find information on planning for carer payments, legal matters, emergency situations and more. 

Carer Gateway is here to support young carers  

Did you know that more than 235,000 people in Australia under the age of 25 care for a loved one with disability, a medical condition, mental health condition or someone who is frail due to age? They regularly have to juggle work, study and life commitments at the same time and often prioritise caring for their loved ones.  

Caring responsibilities can place a heavy strain on young carers as they try their best to manage and balance education, training, work and caring. As alienating as this can be, there are support services available to help young carers and they don’t have to be the primary carer. 

Carer Gateway is an Australian Government initiative that connects carers with a range of services such as counselling, online skills courses, respite care and financial support through Carer Directed Support Packages. Carer Gateway also has peer support groups and an online forum, which creates a safe space for young carers to connect, share stories and seek advice.  

If you are a carer or know a young carer or carer, help them out by letting them know about Carer Gateway. More information and online services are available on the Carer Gateway website: carergateway.gov.au or carers can call 1800 422 737 Mon-Fri between 8am and 5pm local time to speak with a representative who can help carers and young carers get the support they need. 

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Article By Sarah Rees

Sarah lives in Geelong and her youngest son Jayden was born with Prader-Willi Syndrome. Sarah has been an active member of the Prader-Willi Syndrome community and holds a position on the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association of Victoria Inc. board and holds the position of Vice President and Event Coordinator.