This National Carers Week (October 11-17) Cancer Council Queensland is urging Queenslanders to support carers and celebrate their significant contribution to the community.
Queensland carer Joan Wilson-Jones cared for her partner Philip after he was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2002.
“We don’t prepare for the role of caring for seriously ill loved ones at home; it just arrives upon us,” Ms Wilson-Jones said.
“It’s very difficult to develop strategies and arrange help when you are in the middle of a crisis.
“Despite my personal resources and professional training, I was not ready for my new role as a caregiver and the responsibility stretched me to my limits.”
After Philip passed away in 2007 Ms Wilson-Jones penned a guide ‘Who Cares’ to provide ideas and suggestions for those supporting chronically ill family members.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said it was important for carers to reach out for the help and information they needed.
“While caring can be a rich source of satisfaction in people’s lives, it can also be challenging,” Ms Clift said.
“Many carers experience similar levels of psychological distress to those they are caring for and commonly encounter many challenges when supporting a loved one with their illness.
“Studies show the role of becoming a cancer carer can pose significant risks to mental and emotional health, with many carers reporting above-normal levels of psychological distress.
“Often carers feel apprehensive about seeking support as they aren’t the ones diagnosed, but we want to remove that stigma and help family and friends to reach out for the help they need.
“Cancer Council Queensland offers support, information, referrals and resources to the carers of those diagnosed with cancer – or simply a listening ear if they need it.”
Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 is a toll-free landline call from anywhere in Queensland and offers information, resources and connection to support programs and advocacy services for those affected by cancer.
Help us celebrate carers this week by honouring a carer in your community – show that you care too.
For more information, please contact:
Kim Ryan, Senior Media Specialist, Cancer Council Queensland
ABS (2012) Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers
Deloitte Access Economics (2015) The Economic Value of Informal Care in Australia 2015