Carers in Gympie facing tough times

ABOUT half the carers living in Gympie are struggling to afford everyday basics, such as food, rent and electricity bills.

The region's Carers Queensland team leader Kath Kelly said many carers had to give up work to take on their caring role, adding more pressure to an already difficult situation.

But she said Gympie carers were "amazingly resilient".

"They're resourceful; they band together and have life-long friendships.

"They do it tough but really look after each other."

Ms Kelly said Gympie's carer population was very different to the Sunshine Coast because most were forced to travel to access health services for people they looked after.

A report released to coincide with Carers Week showed half of the state's carers live on an annual household income of $40,000 or less; much lower than the national average salary of $75,000.

Ms Kelly said this increased stress levels for carers

"They're exhausted because of the caring role. The added burden of financial stress can just push them over the edge."

Ms Kelly said about 75% of carers in Gympie had a full-time responsibility for the person they looked after.

The number of carers is also growing in the region.

"There is a lot more co-caring in the aged sector," Ms Kelly said. "A husband and wife looking after each other."

One of their biggest concerns was that carers in Gympie rarely had time to themselves.

"But what they'll say in a careless way, 'if the person I'm caring for is looked after, so am I'," Ms Kelly said.

"They'll often put the person they care for before themselves."



 Survey found almost half of carers struggle to afford everyday basics.

 Their household lives on $40,000 or less a year.

 There are about 500,000 unpaid carers in Queensland.

 This week was Carers Week and Poverty Week.

Gympie Times

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