Carers provide support to people who are frail aged, those living with lifelong disabilities, mental health conditions, alcohol or drug dependency, dementia, terminal illness, HIV or with a chronic illness. Carers can be any age and come from all walks of life. Carers support people to live independent lives, to remain in their own homes and in their own communities. This care is fundamental to family life and our community wellbeing. This study looked at a group of more than 30,000 people in the Central and Eastern Sydney region who were recruited to the Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study around 2008, and have been followed since.
The study found that when compared with non-carers, carers in Central and Eastern Sydney (CES) have higher rates of self-reported smoking, anxiety, and psychological distress. The study also found that:
- carers have higher rates of general practitioner (GP) use than non-carers
- carers who are not coping well have higher rates of mortality than carers who are coping well
- people moved in and out of caring roles over the five years.
The implications of this research are:
- Consider identifying carers as a priority population for tobacco control interventions.
- Consider enhancing access to psychological supports/low intensity mental health intervention for carers.
- Enhance GP monitoring of carers quality of life/coping as this is associated with higher mortality.
- Enhance carer interventions delivered by GPs.