Caring is a culturally defined response to a need arising in the family or community for assistance and support to its members. In its broadest sense, caring encompasses many of the daily interactions that maintain and enhance human relationships. A carer may provide assistance within or outside their own home, and to more than one person. The assistance may be provided to family members or friends. Most informal care arrangements exist between family members, resulting in caring relationships that reflect the respective life stages of carers and the recipient of the care.
Those carers who live with their recipient may lack the time and space to physically recuperate and/or engage in activities that maintain personal well-being. The 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, collected information on informal care arrangements, the relationship to the provider and whether the recipient lived in the same household.
Of those who provided informal care in 2003, 78% (371,200) of primary carers provided care to recipients who live in the same household. Mature age persons comprised 40% of all primary carers providing care to recipients in the same household. In comparison, persons aged 15-44 years comprised 31%, with persons aged 65 years and over comprising 28% of those providing primary care for recipients in the same household.
For further information, refer to Disability, Ageing and Carers,Australia: Summary of Findings, 2003 - (cat. no. 4430.0), released on 15 September, 2004.