Time to put spotlight on the commitment of carers

MARY Vertillini can provide testament to the challenges of both providing care and requiring care.

A carer of six years for late husband Robert, Mrs Vertillini is now herself receiving care while battling the early stages of Alzheimers.

"Being a carer takes the most patient, selfless and dedicated type of person," she said.

"We all need help at some stage of our lives sooner or later."

This week the spotlight is on those generous individuals who provide care to family and friends.

Carers Week may only last for seven days, but for those who provide care, it is an ongoing commitment for all hours of the day, every week of the year.

Mrs Vertillini says the task of being a full-time carer for someone is a demanding role.

"The wider community should recognise and respect the vital role these people play," she said.

"When your everyday paid job is to ease another's suffering, it is a huge load."

One of Mrs Vertillini's full-time carers, Stephanie Hobson, says the position is demanding, but also highly rewarding.

"It's my pleasure looking after this young lady," she said.

"You develop relationships with your clients, and you come to associate them as your second family."

CEO of BeyondBlue Kate Carnell says there are more carers in Australia than can be formally recognised.

"Trying to look after someone with depression or anxiety can be a round the clock commitment."

The BeyondBlue Guide for Carers can be found at the BeyondBlue website.

Facts

  • There are 2.6 million unpaid carers in Australia
  • 520,000 carers are over 65 years of age
  • 70% of people who love, live with or care for someone with depression experience significant psychological distress