Over time care needs will increase

Most people want to live independently for as long as possible. But as we age, we may need more support to manage our lives. There are formal aged care services that can provide support and assistance.

Families provide care

As people age, they can find it harder to manage all the things they did previously. A consequence of this has been an increasing reliance on family and friends to either provide needed care or supplement formal home support services.

People providing care to an older person may not be part of a family kinship or legally defined relationship with the care recipient. Families, friends, and neighbours often support older people by helping them with some of the ordinary tasks of daily life such as shopping, paying bills, cleaning, and gardening. They may also assist them with any health problems. This can involve visits to the doctor, helping with medications or sorting out mobility aids such as a walking frame.

Many older adults receive care from more than one person and some caregivers may help more than one older adult. There is great diversity in families and communities and in the relationships that older people draw on to support their care needs.

Support for an older person is not only direct hands-on care but can involve emotional support, support with financial and legal matters.

People providing care may live with the older person, live nearby, or far away from the person receiving care. The care they provide may be episodic, daily, or occasional.

Sometimes care decisions and expectations about who will provide care can cause arguments in the family. Attitudes to caring and willingness to provide care may also differ.

Feros Care website
Caring for elderly parents - What to expect

Over time as care needs increase, thinking about aged care becomes important. 

Planning for the future including financial matters and advance care planning should also be considered.

Older people are also carers

While many older people might need care and support, many older people are also carers. They may be looking after their grandchildren or an adult child with a disability. 

Many older people may also be caring for their partner or a sibling or friend with aging related needs or needs at the end of life. Recent estimates suggest that there are around 420,000 older carers. 

Older carers may also have chronic illnesses and disability and be managing their own health needs while undertaking caring responsibilities.

Carer payments

The Australian Government provides various financial help for people providing daily care to someone who has a life limiting illness as well as carer payments for someone providing daily care for someone who is frail aged. Information is found on the Services Australia website.

This information was drawn from the following resources:

Last updated 02 August 2021