If you're a young carer, it might help to know that you're one of hundreds of thousands of amazing young people doing this across Australia. As you know very well, being a carer can be a tough job, so it's important to know your rights.
This can help if:
- you’re a young carer
- you know a young carer
- you want info on carers’ rights.
Being a young carer
A carer is someone who provides support at home for parents, brothers or sisters, or any other family member, who has a disability, mental illness or other long-term illness.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (2015) says that there are approximately 272,000 carers under the age of 25 in Australia.
If you’re a young carer, you are likely to have a very large responsibility on your shoulders and may have to balance your own needs with those of the person or people you’re caring for.
Your rights as a young carer
As a young carer, you should:
- be able to choose whether or not to be a carer
- expect to be treated separately from the person needing care
- be heard, listened to and believed
- be respected
- be able to receive respite and other health, social and practical support specific to your needs
- be protected from physical and psychological harm
- be offered access to trained individuals and agencies that can provide information, advice and support
- be able to access independent and confidential representation in terms of needs, strengths and weaknesses, and racial, cultural and religious preferences
- be able to appeal and complain
- be able to choose to stop caring.
If you’re a young carer and your rights aren’t being met, check out more information at the Young Carers website to learn about the support options available to you.
Suggestions for looking after yourself
Although being a carer can be a rewarding experience, there may also be times when you feel frustrated, angry or alone. It’s worth remembering that, in order for you to be the best carer you can be, your physical and emotional health needs to be looked after, too.
Take time out
We get it: you’re really busy, and it’s hard to get time to yourself. However, it’s important to try and find time to do the things you enjoy, such as playing a sport, hanging out with friends, listening to music, going for a walk – whatever relaxes you and makes you feel good.
Talk to someone
It’s normal to occasionally feel angry, frustrated, guilty, sad, scared or worried. During those times, it may be helpful to talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. Friends, other carers, counsellors and family members might be able to help you get through these tough patches.
Find out more about what you can do to keep yourself emotionally and physically healthy while caring for others.