CARING FOR THE ELDERLY AND DISABLED
People who provide care outside of institutions to people with disabilities and long-term health conditions, and to those who are frail or aged, perform an important service. Unpaid informal carers provide services that might otherwise cost over $30 billion annually (Access Economics 2005).
In 1998, around 450,900 Australians were primary carers for people with long term health conditions, or were frail or aged. By 2003, this had increased, by 5%, to 474,600 people, growing much more slowly than both the overall population and the aged. The primary caring role most often falls to immediate family, with the vast majority (91%) of primary carers being either a partner, parent or child. Most of these carers (78%) lived with the person needing care. While many husbands, fathers and sons provide care, in 2003, 71% of primary carers were women.
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