New study reveals carers' day-to-day struggle for survival

NORTHERN Rivers carers are struggling to make ends meet with less than half working.

A Carers NSW survey, release for National Carers Week, showed 57% of carers were unemployed, with half not working because of their caring responsibilities.

The survey found the task can take a mental burden on carers with 37% of the 1684 respondents reporting high psychological stress levels.

Byron Shire Respite Service care manager Barbara Chambers said many carers across the Northern Rivers struggled day-to-day.

"Caring is such a stressful thing for people. It's not just that it's 24/7, which it is, it's also that for something like dementia there is a real loss of that person too," she said.

"If you've been married for 65 years and then your wife doesn't recognise you and wants you out of the house there is real grief there.

"Mentally it's such a challenge."

Ms Chambers said working was nearly impossible for many even if they were lucky enough to have Commonwealth funded assistance.

She said the Respite Service offered services to give carers a break but often that was only enough for time to themselves.

"It's really difficult for people to just get by. But they just do what they've got to do," she said.

Carers NSW chief Elena Katrakis the study showed workplaces had improved in how they dealt with employees who were also carers, but many still found it tough.

"Many carers focused on the positive value of caring. Despite this, carers in this survey reported poor well-being compared to the general Australian population," she said.

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