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Who Are Young Carers?

Young carers are children and young people, 25 years or under, who help to support a family member or friend who has a disability, mental illness, drug or alcohol dependency, chronic condition, terminal illness or who is frail.

Every caring situation is different and the word ‘carer’ can be confusing. Young carers are daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, granddaughters, grandsons, nieces, nephews, cousins and even friends! You might not use the term young carer to describe yourself so it could be hard to know if we are the right people to connect with. Here is a bit more information about who young carers are and the types of things that young carers do.

Because they are looking after someone else, young carers usually have more responsibilities than other young people their age. If you are a young carer, some of the extra support you provide might include:

  • Practical – cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping, looking after siblings, paying bills, some young carers even translate for a family member who does not speak English.
  • Emotional – listening, monitoring moods and behaviours, encouraging and providing a shoulder to lean on.
  • Personal – assisting with medication, bathing, feeding, lifting/moving, toileting and dealing with emergencies.

Those are just some examples but young carers often do lots of different things, it really depends on each person’s situation. Did you know:

  • You don’t have to live with the person you care for to be a young carer!
  • You don’t have to be the main source of care and support to be a young carer!
  • You don’t have to receive the Carer Payment or Carer Allowance from Centrelink to be a young carer!

Remember, every young carer is an individual with unique circumstances and responsibilities. Although each caring situation is different, once you connect with the Young Carer Community you might find that you share some common experiences and challenges with other young carers. Being a young carer can be an amazing and rewarding experience but at times it can also be stressful, frustrating and just plain difficult. But the good news is that you don’t have to go it alone and help is available. So how do you get supported? That’s where we come in!

Click here to learn about how the Young Carer Program can help you.