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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2002   
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Contents >> Income and Welfare >> Carers with a disability

CARERS WITH A DISABILITY

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. People can provide care to others in any role they play, whether it be as parent, child, neighbour or care professional. The 1998 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers identified over 2.2 million carers aged 15 years and over, comprising approximately 15% of all people (aged 15 and over) living in households. Of the carers identified, one in five (447,900) were primary carers - people who provide the most assistance with one or more of the core activities of communication, mobility or self care (table 7.26).


7.26 ALL PERSONS(a), Carer Status by Age Group and Whether Has a Disability - 1998

Primary carer
Other carer
All carers
Not a carer
Total
Age group
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000

WITH A DISABILITY

15 to 44
45.6
157.5
203.1
761.8
964.9
45 to 64
77.6
224.9
302.5
799.3
1,101.8
65 and over
53.7
176.0
229.7
833.6
1,063.3
Total 15 and over
176.9
558.4
735.3
2,394.6
3,130.0

ALL PERSONS

15 to 44
157.7
835.4
993.1
7,427.4
8,420.6
45 to 64
193.5
634.8
828.3
3,206.2
4,034.4
65 and over
96.7
304.3
401.0
1,703.4
2,104.4
Total 15 and over
447.9
1,774.5
2,222.4
12,337.0
14,559.4

(a) Aged 15 and over, living in households.

Source: ABS data available on request, Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 1998.


The likelihood of having a disability increases with age, as does the chance of becoming a carer. Therefore it is not surprising that carers are nearly twice as likely to have a disability as those who are not carers. Some 39% (176,900) of primary carers aged 15 and over had a disability (table 7.27), compared with only 19% of non-carers. The proportion of primary carers with a disability increased with age, from 29% for those aged 15 to 44, to 56% for primary carers aged 65 and over.

Many carers are older people, who may provide care as part of a reciprocal arrangement. Of the primary carers who had a disability, some 41,500 (23%) had a profound or severe core activity restriction. This means that they sometimes or always needed assistance with at least one core activity task.

In 1998, 43% (193,500) of primary carers were aged between 45 and 64 years. Carers in this age group are potentially providing care for family member/s across a span of three generations, covering their partner, children and/or aged parents. A person in this age group is most likely to be caring for a parent, whereas older carers (aged 65 years or over) were normally caring for a spouse or partner (Caring in the Community, 1998 (4436.0), p.9).


7.27 ALL PRIMARY CARERS(a), Disability Status by Age Group - 1998

Core activity restriction(b)
Profound/severe
Moderate/mild
All with disability(c)
No disability
Total
Age of primary carer
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000

15 to 44
9.3
26.5
45.6
112.1
157.7
45 to 64
18.5
44.3
77.6
115.9
193.5
65 and over
13.7
34.8
53.7
43.0
96.7
All primary carers(a)
41.5
105.6
176.9
271.0
447.9

(a) Aged 15 and over, living in households.
(b) Core activities comprise communication, mobility and self care.
(c) Includes those with only a schooling or employment restriction, and those who do not have a specific restriction.

Source: ABS data available on request, Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 1998.


Primary carers with a disability were more likely to live with the main recipient of their care (83%) than primary carers without a disability (76%). Of the 352,200 primary carers living with their main recipient of care, 58% (204,700) were caring for someone with a profound restriction (table 7.28). Some 43% (88,000) of these primary carers themselves had a disability, including 15,800 primary carers whose own level of disability was profound or severe.

7.28 ALL PRIMARY CARERS(a), Disability Status by Living Arrangement and Main Recipient's Disability Status - 1998

Core activity restriction(b)
Profound/severe
Moderate/mild
All with disability(c)
No disability
Total
Living arrangement
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000

Primary carers whose main recipient
of care lives with them
- Disability status of main recipient
- Profound
15.8
57.1
88.0
116.7
204.7
- Severe
12.9
27.9
51.0
73.8
124.8
Moderate/mild
**2.3
*4.5
*7.0
12.4
19.4
Total whose main recipient lives with them(d)
31.6
90.1
147.3
204.9
352.2
Primary carers whose main recipient of care lives elsewhere
9.9
15.6
29.6
66.1
95.8
All primary carers(a)
41.5
105.6
176.9
271.0
447.9

(a) Aged 15 and over, living in households.
(b) Core activities comprise communication, mobility and self care.
(c) Includes carers with only a schooling or employment restriction, and those who do not have a specific restriction.
(d) Includes recipients with only a schooling or employment restriction, and those who do not have a specific restriction.

Source: ABS data available on request, Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 1998.


A person's own level of disability may impact on their capacity to cope with caring commitments. While 32% of primary carers with a moderate or mild disability said they derived satisfaction from their caring role, only 22% of primary carers with a profound or severe restriction reported a sense of satisfaction (table 7.29).

The most commonly reported negative effects of caring were weariness or lack of energy (31%) and worry or depression (29%). Primary carers with a profound or severe restriction were most likely to report negative effects (71%), compared with primary carers whose own restriction was moderate or mild (50%), or primary carers without a disability (50%).


7.29 ALL PRIMARY CARERS(a), Disability Status by Effects of Caring - 1998

Core activity restriction(b)
Profound/severe
Moderate/mild
All with disability(c)
No disability
Effects of caring
'000
%
'000
%
'000
%
'000
%

Feels satisfied
9.3
22.5
33.7
31.9
52.7
29.8
74.5
27.5
Experiencing negative effects
- Feels weary/lacks energy
21.4
51.5
37.8
35.8
70.2
39.7
85.1
31.4
- Often worried or depressed
19.2
46.3
30.6
29.0
60.8
34.4
79.9
29.5
- Often feels angry or resentful
*8.6
*20.7
19.3
18.2
34.6
19.6
42.6
15.7
- Has a stress-related illness
*7.0
*16.8
15.4
14.6
29.0
16.4
16.2
6.0
- All experiencing negative effects(d)
29.7
71.4
52.6
49.8
98.9
55.9
134.2
49.5
All affected(d)
37.8
91.0
80.0
75.7
141.7
80.1
202.6
74.7
None of these effects
**2.2
**5.2
20.3
19.2
26.3
14.9
56.7
20.9
Total(e)
41.5
100.0
105.6
100.0
176.9
100.0
271.0
100.0

(a) Aged 15 and over, living in households.
(b) Core activities comprise communication, mobility and self care.
(c) Includes those with only a schooling or employment restriction, and those who do not have a specific restriction.
(d) Total is less than the sum of the components as a person may report more than one effect.
(e) Includes not stated.

Source: ABS data available on request, Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 1998.


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