Availability of carers and volunteers

Availability of carers and volunteers2015-08-26T08:57:04+10:00

Assess the impact of a growing and ageing population on:

Carers of the elderly

A growing and ageing population, with the increase in chronic disease and disability require an increase in carers and volunteers. A carer is someone who provides assistance in a formal paid (64% of people receiving care use this) or informal unpaid role (83% of people receiving care use this) for someone due to illness, disease or disability. Care for the elderly needs to be varied in its approach in order to meet the demands. Aged care can be provided through community aged care or residential aged care. Care provided often includes daily activities such as bathing, cooking, home upkeep, and administering medications. Most informal unpaid carers are family members, particularly children or a spouse. These family members often decrease their workload in order to provide care to their loved ones. Many carers come from charities, religious institutions, or the government. There are currently three types of community care:

  1. community aged care packages – provide low-level care giving basic support and assistance with daily activities.
  2. Extended aged care at home – providing a higher level of care than the community aged care package above.
  3. Extended aged care at home dementia – catering for the more complex needs of those with dementia.

Often people begin with informal community care and progress to using formal community care before transferring into residential aged care, such as a nursing home or hostel.

There is some positive news here though, as 31% of the elderly participate in voluntary work as carers, child minders and volunteers. The elderly provide support for relatives and friends who are aged, sick, or living with a disability. They also provide regular care for their grandchildren aged under 12, with this number rising.


Volunteer organisations

Numerous volunteers complement the care provided through the community services workforce. Volunteering is unpaid wilful help given as time, service or skill to a formal organisation. Formal groups include social groups such as sport or recreation groups, religious groups or heritage groups, as well as civic participation, which relates to unions, professional associations or political parties. Volunteers often cook, drive, do housework, visiting, or help the elderly shop. Volunteer organisations include: Anglicare, Alzheimer’s Australia NSW, ARV (Anglican Retirement Villages), Your Aged Care at Home Ltd, Independent Community Living Australia, and Nursing on Wheels (see www.volunteer.com.au for other organisations). Rates of volunteers had increased between 1995 and 2010, but from 2010-2014 the rate of volunteers fell from 36% to 31% of people 18 and over. This falling rate needs to be turned around if Australia is going to appropriately care for the needs of our growing and ageing population.