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Carer wellbeing

 Carer Wellbeing

alternate text 48Are you:

  • Getting enough sleep?​
  • Eating healthy meals?
  • Staying active?
  • Taking breaks?
  • Talking about how you feel?
  • When you're looking after others it's easy to forget yourself, but unless you're well you can't do much for anyone.

 Healthy Living

​Taking care of YOU - keeping healthy, fit and relaxed - will help you keep going, especially through the tough times.

 

How do YOU measure up?

Carers have the lowest levels of wellbeing of any Australian group.*

It's important to be healthy and manage stress the best you can. So, how do you measure up? Use the two simple tools below to find out!

 

Carers Strain Index 

The PDF icon Carers Strain Index is a quick five minute tool that outlines some of the difficulties carers face. You may not feel all of these but it's good to note what each task means for you. A score of 7 or more yes answers indicates a greater level of stress where carer support services can be useful.

 

Do you know your waist measurement?

For most people a waist measurement higher than the following is associated with increased risk of chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

 Increased risk

Waist measurement of

Greatly increased risk

Waist measurement of 

Men

more than 94cm 

Men

more than 102cm

Women

more than 80cm

Women

more than 88cm


With over half the adults in NSW overweight or obese; being unhealthy has become the new 'normal'.

Even just a handful of belly fat increases your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

 

The good news?  It's never too late to make 'healthy' normal. 

Being active, making healthy food choices, managing your stress and taking time out are all important.

TIP: Remember, as a Carer, keeping healthy, fit and relaxed will help you keep going.

The National Carers Gateway also has a wide range of information for Carers to consider and use to

Take care of your health and wellbeing. Carer gateway SiteExternal Link

Check out our easy-to-read information and tips on how to get (and stay) fit and healthy now including Health Living  information and tips below including
  • Healthy eating
  • Get active now!
  • Quick Quiz - Make Healthy Normal
  • FREE personal Telephone Health Coaching
  • Calculator - Find your ideal figure
  • Calculator - Burn and Balance kJ 
  • FREE mobile app - Healthy Food Choices
  • Taking a break
  • Managing your stress
  • Where to find support
  • Counselling

Chevron  Information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Carers External Link

*Australian Carer's Health and Wellbeing Survey 2007 

 A healthier you External Link

We understand the demands of caring can make it hard to focus on your own health and wellbeing.

But as a Carer, it's important.

Keeping healthy, fit and relaxed will help you keep going.

Eating well and keeping active will give you the fuel and strength needed to keep caring.

Did you know?

  • Over half the adults in NSW are overweight or obese - being unhealthy has become the new 'normal'. 
  • Just a handful of belly fat increases your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

The good news?  It's never too late to make 'healthy' normal. 

Being active, making healthy food choices, managing your stress and taking time out are all important.

Below are some great resources with easy-to-read information and tips on how to get (and stay) fit and healthy now.

 

How healthy are you?

Why not take the Make Healthy Normal External Link quick quiz to find out how healthy you are? 

You will also find easy-to-read information and strategies on how to get and stay fit and healthy.  

FREE Personal Telephone Health Coaching

 

Need motivation to find a happier, healthier you?

Your NSW Health service has all the expertise and motivation you need – and it's FREE!

The Get Healthy Service External Link offers free and confidential telephone-based expert advice and plenty of motivation to help you find that healthier, happier you.

The Get Healthy Service has two streams, Information Only and a 6-month coaching program that offers support, motivation and information.  You pick what's right for you.  

What they offer:

  • 10 one on one phone calls with a health coach as well as online tools and trackers to help you stay on track
  • Expert advice on nutrition, exercise and losing weight
  • Easy to understand information and tips about losing weight and getting healthy

Visit their  website External Link or call 1300 806 258 and Get Healthy External Linknow!

 

What's your ideal figure?  

TIP: If you eat more kilojoules than your body uses, they are stored as fat and you will put on weight.

It's that simple.

Do you know how many KJs a day are right for you? Enter your details into this quick and simple-to-use Chevron Find Your Ideal Figure Calculator External Link and it will tell you - it's that easy!

 

How many kJ are in that?

Knowing how many KJs are in any given food is VERY handy, especially when you're out and about.

Did you know one slice of Banana Bread from McDonalds Café is 2570 kJ?  That's nearly 30% of the average daily kJ intake and would take you nearly two hours to exercise off!

This easy-to-use Food Search Database External Link gives you the kJ count of over 3,000 popular fast and snack foods and 150 ready-to-eat foods, their kJ and the amount of exercise you'll need to do to burn them off. 

TIP:  healthy eating is all about what's right for you - balancing the kJ you take in with the activity needed to burn them off.

  • Make regular physical activity part of everyday
  • Don't spend too much time sitting; try to be as active as you can every day. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.

Want to burn off those KJs? (this will help…)

 Balance & Burn Calculator External Link 

Use this calculator to estimate how many kJ you are burning during various activities, exercises and sports. 

TIP: Always exercise within the limits of your level of fitness. If unsure, check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.

And remember, you don't have to exercise to burn off every kJ you eat. Our bodies need KJs to maintain their own normal, healthy function.

Take it all with you. the FREE mobile app

The  8700 mobile app External Link8700 mobile app and has all the tools, calculators, converters and tips you need to make informed food choices when you're out and about, eating at those fast food and snack food chains. And it remembers your details!  Download it now from:

 

Over 50? Are you healthy and active?

Did you know staying physically active is the single most important thing you can do to stay fit and independent as you get older? 

Check out Active and Healthy External Linknow for some great ways to get (and stay) fit and healthy.

Healthy Lifestyle - get fit, feel great, have fun!

"I feel stronger and fitter after joining the exercise classes... I enjoy the socialising and the chance to meet new friends."

Healthy Lifestyle courses are suitable for both beginners and those who exercise regularly. They are also beneficial for people dealing with osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease or other chronic conditions.

They offer a wide range of courses including aqua fitness, gentle exercise, strength training, dance, Pilates, tai chi and yoga.

Courses are run over four, ten-week terms each year and coincide with school terms. They are offered at over 50 community venues in the Hornsby, Ku-ring-gai, Ryde, Northern Beaches and Lower North Shore areas

Improve your fitness and health in no time at all!

You will begin to see improvements in your health and fitness in no time at all ~ and it's never too late to start!

Want more information?

Contact the friendly Healthy Lifestyle staff on 8877 5300 or visit their  Website External Linkfor more information and bookings.

* Healthy Lifestyle courses operate on a non-profit basis and concessions are available.

Carers' Yoga & Relaxation

Yoga and meditation are great for relaxation.

Classes are suitable for all ages - men and women - and no experience is needed. Classes are by donation and taught by a qualified Dru Yoga teacher.

For more information and to register please call Lynette Brakell (Diploma of Dru Yoga Teaching) on 0424 232 342 or Barbara Lewis, Carer Support Service on 9462 9721.

 

Carer Gateway – tips

Carer Gateway External Linkhas tips for ALL carers – younger and older.

 

Carers NSW

 Carers NSW External Linkhas a range of resources, advice and information on looking after yourself including:

  • finding time to exercise
  • food for busy people
  • managing your stress

You can visit their  Carers NSW External Linkor call their Carer Line on 1800 242 636 (*freecall except from mobiles).

 Your Feelings

Caring can be a demanding role - one that involves many emotions.

Some people who spend a lot of time caring for someone else can feel quite alone or isolated. Feelings of loss, grief, depression, anxiety and being overwhelmed are common.

It can be hard to find time for yourself or when you do you may find it difficult to relax, feel 'too tired' to do anything or 'guilty' for wanting some time to yourself. As these feelings are individual, so are the ways in which carers cope.

It's good to know help and support is available - there are things you can do to understand and deal with your feelings.

Below, you can find out about mindfulness, relaxation and managing your stress. You may also want to think about counselling or talking to others in a similar situation - talking with family, friends, your doctor, a counsellor or other carers. It helps to know you're not alone - to know support and understanding is available.

 

Support Groups

Support groups are a safe place to connect with other carers who may be experiencing similar things to you. They are supportive, safe places where you can tell your story, share advice and make suggestions. 

Support groups can be general or aimed at particular illnesses or disabilities people care for, such as brain injuries, dementia, cancer or autism.

There are also groups for men, women, parents, grandparents and young carers; for particular languages, religious and cultural backgrounds such Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

 

Counselling

Counselling can be in person or over the phone; it can be one-on-one or in a group.

 

Where to find support

There are a variety of trusted places you can contact to find the support that best suits your needs. If nothing below suits, please feel free to call us - Carer Support - on 9462 9488 and we can help.

Carers NSW External Linkhave an online Carer Support group database or you can call their Carer Line on freecall 1800 242 636. For an interpreter please call 1314500.   

Carer gateway SiteExternal Link - Information and resources on a range of carer support groups including general and specific groups catering for carers of people with particular illnesses, injuries, disabilities or chronic conditions.

For information on Carer Support Services and local Northern Sydney support groups External Link 

Cancer Council NSW External Link The Cancer Council recognises that carers have a vital and demanding role. They offer support over the phone and in person. They can also link you to practical support services, transport to appointments, home help and provide information on a wide range of cancer-related topics. Visit their  website External Linkor call on 13 11 20.

Dementia Australia External LinkFor information on support groups, or any other information. You can also call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.   

AngliCare External LinkAngliCare: For more information on affordable counselling through AngliCare please visit their  website External Link

My Aged Care External LinkMy Aged Care: For information about support groups in your area.  You can read about Chevron caring for someone with a particular need External Linkor if you prefer, call 1800 200 422 Mon - Fri 8am - 8pm; Sat 10am - 2pm. 

Young Carers External LinkYoung Carers: There are lots of people and organisations in the community that can help you. And if you live remotely, there are phone numbers and websites you can use to seek help.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Carers - Carers NSW External Linkprovides an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Carer Program including resources and information on relaxation, health and wellbeing, support groups and carer life courses.   For more information freecall 1800 242 636 (*except from mobile) 9am-5pm Monday - Friday.

Beyond Blue External Link have a large range of online advice and resources.  You can call on 1300 22 4636 and talk things through and they can point you in the right direction or visit their website External Link.

Black Dog Institute External Link:  a large range of resources for people with depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder. Support groups who meet regularly to discuss their experiences, problems and strategies for coping. Some support groups meet online.

Carers Australia: National Carer Counselling Program External LinkShort-term counselling services provided by professional counsellors to assist carers with emotional support and coping skills. Services are available in person (face-to-face) by telephone or in a group. Call 1800 242 636.

The San Hospital External Linkat Wahroonga offers a range of grief support services.

The Butterfly Foundation External Link

Are you caring for someone experiencing an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia or binge eating? The Butterfly Foundation invites carers to attend a support group facilitated by counsellors. Groups are open to any parent, partner, grandparent, caring friend or other carer over 18 years of age. The group provides opportunities to discuss the challenges of helping your loved one to recover and offers support and encouragement.  It is a safe space where you can talk about your feelings and find connection with others.   

Quest for Life Foundation External Link

They call them Life's D's.   Whether it's a diagnosis, divorce, death, depression or disaster everyone faces a significant challenge at some point in their life.  If you can no longer cope, are feeling depressed, stressed, anxious or facing a major health challenge, the Quest for Life Foundation can provide practical strategies and tools to help you heal the past, build strength for the future and live in the present.

They offer retreats and community based workshops that encourage, educate and empower you to build emotional resilience and peace of mind.

Their  website External Link has a range of resources including eNewsletters, podcasts, meditation practices and information on health and wellbeing including how to sleep better. You can also telephone them on 1300 941 488.

 

Managing Your Stress

Stress is a normal part of life.

While it may not be possible to remove all the stresses from your life you can learn how to manage stress and grow more resilient.

Staying fit, healthy and relaxed, getting enough sleep and maintaining your social contact is a great way to start. 

Below are links to trusted sites that will give you information and tips that can help.  Your doctor may also be able to advise you on other ways to help manage stress.

Carers NSW - 'How to Manage your Stress' External Link 

 

Yoga and Relaxation

Yoga and meditation are great for relaxation.

Northern Sydney Carer Support Service has weekly Carer Yoga and Relaxation classesExternal Link that work on both the mind and the body to rejuvenate your soul and build positivity and empowerment.   

Classes are suitable for all ages - men and women - and no experience is needed. Classes are by donation and taught by a qualified Dru Yoga teacher.

For more information and to register please call Lynette Brakell (Diploma of Dru Yoga Teaching) on 0424 232 342 or Barbara Lewis, Carer Support Service on 9462 9721.

 Take a break

Taking a Break

It is important to make time for yourself. 

You may find taking a break difficult at first - that's natural - but it's really important you do.

Taking a break allows you to have a rest from your caring role and to maintain some independence. It allows both you and the person you care for to take a break, to connect socially, to meet and talk with other people.

It's important to remember respite care is only for a short period of time and regular breaks for you are important.

Despite can come in many forms - from family or friends or more formally through a home, community or residential respite service.

Some carers choose a day a week, others a few hours every now and then. It can be useful to begin with short breaks and increase them over time.

The type of respite care you need will depend entirely on your own unique situation - what suits you and the person you care for.

Check out this 2-minute video from Carer Gateway on Respite Care.External Link

 Other Helpful Resources

​Where can I find out more?

Below are a range of trusted organisations that can provide you with more information and advice on respite care to suit your needs.

  • Carer Gateway External Link- For all carers - respite care information including types of respite, a range of helpful links to other useful organisations and a helpful search tool that looks for a respite care specific to your needs including: young carers, adults, older person (over 65), mental illness, physical disability, cognitive disability, chronic/terminal illness and substance abuse.
  • My Aged Care External Link- Information for the over 65's on a range of respite services including types of respite, how to access them, service providers and fee estimators.
  • Carers NSW External Link- For information on time for yourself, types of respite care, organising and paying for care. You can also call the Carer Line from  9am – 5pm Monday to Friday on1800 242 636.
  • Dementia External LinkAustralia - Alzheimer's Australia is the national peak body for people living with dementia, their families and carers and has a range of information on respite care. You can visit their  website External Linkor call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.
  •  Young Carers External Link- Feeling tired? Information and support for young carers (under 26 years).

Are you caring for someone with dementia?

A Respite Care Guide (written by Carers for Carers)

Would you like a copy?

Making the decision to use respite care is a hard one, but it is one shared by many carers like you. 

While there are many resources to give you information, this guide by is designed to help you make a decision about respite care by providing you with information from the carer's perspective

In this guide you will find the stories about carers and their experiences of respite care, as well as advice and tips to help to you make the most of your respite experience.

  

Need to know more?

The following organisations may be a good place to start if you are looking for additional carer wellbeing resources and support. 

  • Carers NSW External Link - information and resources on looking after yourself.
  • Carers Gateway External Link- Freecall 1800 422 737 Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.
  • Carers NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Carer Program: External Linkresources and information on relaxation, health and wellbeing, support groups and carer life courses.  For more information call freecall 1800 242 636 (*except from mobile) 9am-5pm Monday - Friday.
  • Cancer Council External LinkSelf Care for Carers
  • Alzheimer's Australia - Taking Care of Yourself; Information for Carers
  • My Aged Care External Link– My HExternal Linkealth and Wellbeing - information for people over 65.
  • Disability: NDISExternal Link: A helpful resource for parents and carers who are raising a child, adolescent or young adult with a disability.
  • Young Carers NSW:External Link Being a young carer (under 26) means looking after yourself too! Check out the following resources and stress less to improve your own health and wellbeing – it's important!
  • Beyond Blue -External Link Helpful advice and tips about caring for others and caring for yourself too.
  • Lifeline External Link– If you need support in a crisis, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
  • NSLHD Carer Support External Link – for all your carer support needs.  You can visit our website or contact us on 9462 9488.