Sunday, August 19, 2007

Carer Isolation.

Mr Mans Wife has written a very thoughtful post: Solidarity, about the isolation of carers and the serious lack of carer blogs in the blogosphere. As a very new blogger I am always on the lookout for other carer blogs. So please leave me a comment if you have a blog so I can find you. For me reading about carers ups and downs helps me feel like I am not so alone.

The latest statistics for Australian carers are from 2003. At that time 13% of the population identified as being carers. Over 75% of carers are still in the workforce. In total 54% of carers are women, but in the 25-65 age group, women carers far outweigh men. For employed carers, most are part-time with difficulty arranging alternative care and work hours identified as the main barriers to employment.

The physical and emotional effects of caring include: feels satisfied, feels worried or depressed, stress related illness, weary or lacks energy, well being affected, angry or resentful. The survey reports that over 72% report one of more of these effects. Unfortunately they do not give the breakdown for each effect which would be much more useful information.

One quarter of carers report losing contact with friends, and 14% feel they spend less time with other family members as a result of caring responsibilities.

For me caring has completely changed my life, and not really for the better. It has cost me thousands of dollars, caused a large amount of stress and worry. I have been diagnosed with 2 stress related illness' in the last 8 months. It has caused family conflict, less contact with friends, loss of freedom to pursue my own interests. I have had to close my business which was a goal I had worked toward for many years. My income is almost halved now.

On the up side I get to spend time with my mum, to care for her, to have magic moments that I wouldn't want to miss with her. I suppose what I am saying is that being a carer changes your life. Not always in ways that are positive, and then in unexpected ways that are wonderful. It is a complicated business this caring. I personally have found that only other carers understand the roller coaster of emotions and the frequent internal conflict I experience.


Ed said...

I can really relate to those statistics, its wierd seeing it written down but good because then some of the things i feel, feel normal. My caring has also caused family conflict but it is getting better every day as my parents understand things like having to cancel on arragements at the last minute.
Less contact with friends does get to me but at least there are few I can still pick up the phone to and chat with although they tend to be less understanding about last minute cancellations.
Loss of freedom to pursue my own interests is also a problem but I do procrastinate alot too so I sometimes think if I wasn't caring that not alot would be different in those respects.
I also feel like only other carers are some of the few that understand. There do seem to be a few good blogs about and suppose quality over quanity. Ed

Mr Mans Wife said...

Thanks for the mention and for the link Elanor.

You're right; the emotions felt are difficult to explain to non carers.

SavingDiva said...

Wow! I just found your page. You are so giving! I couldn't imagine doing what you are...good luck with your journey.