Caring for the carers

A HERALD PROMOTIONAL FEATRUE:

• Peter gets ready to Kayak for Carers in the Indian Ocean. Photo supplied.

SERVICEMAN from the Australian army aims to put the navy to shame when he takes to the Indian Ocean in a kayak to raise awareness about family carers in WA.

‘Peter’ (elite soldiers can’t reveal their true identity) will launch from Hillarys Boat Harbour on Sunday (October 14) and kayak south approximately 60km per day, for six days, along the WA coastline.

Peter and his wife cared for a family friend who had terminal cancer, and also spent a lot of time providing support to the friend’s three children.

Now an ambassador for Carers WA, the digger says he now appreciates the immense physical and emotional stress carers experience and how vital these unpaid individuals are to society.

“The reality of this stress was not lost on our family when our friend became terminally ill and her decline put increasing demands on her family,” he said.

“As a family we had to do the best we could to support our friend and her family when they needed assistance.

“For us this was only a snapshot of what life is like as a carer, some families deal with this their entire lives with no respite.”

Caring friends and families save the Australian community more than $60 billion per year, yet too many carers experience declining health, financial hardship and social isolation because they are not adequately recognised and supported.

Carers WA is a registered charity dedicated to improving the lives of the estimated 320,000 family carers living in WA.

Carers WA CEO Paul Coates said community-focused campaigns like Kayak for Carers increase awareness of caring roles and help reduce stigma.

“Carers often feel invisible and undervalued; campaigns like Kayak for Carers with the help of brave community members like Peter help us continue to spread the word and encourage the wider community to put their support behind, the 320,000 unpaid carers in Western Australia,” Mr Coates said.

“We want carers to realise there is support out there for them so they can seek out the services they need and are entitled to.”

Kayak for Carers will be held during National Carers Week (October 14-20) to raise awareness about Carers WA and to raise funds for family carers.

For more info go to http://www.carerswa.asn.au/

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