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2022 National Carer Survey findings released for National Carers Week

Carers NSW has launched the initial findings of the 2022 National Carer Survey today in recognition of National Carers Week.

With more than 2.65 million unpaid family and friend carers living in Australia, and over 854,300 living in NSW - National Carers Week, from 16–22 October 2022 is dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating the outstanding contribution carers make to Australian society.

In Australia it is estimated a total of nearly 2.2 billion hours of care are provided every year by family members and friends. The replacement value of unpaid care in Australia is estimated at over $1.5 billion per week, while carers lose on average $392,500 in lifetime income due to care commitments.

Carers NSW, CEO, Elena Katrakis said “the 2022 National Carer Survey provides important insights into the lives of carers and shows their continued care and support of their loved ones no matter what they are confronted with.”

The Survey received a total of 6,826 valid responses from carers across Australia, including 1,352 from NSW. This included a strong response from diverse and hidden groups of carers - including young carers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) carers and sexuality and gender diverse carers, which will enable a better understanding of the experiences and support needs of these groups.

Key findings from the 2022 National Carer Survey include:

  • Nationally, the average age of respondents was 59.8 years, and 3 in 4 respondents were female.

  • Respondents were most likely to be caring for their child (including adult children), or their partner.

  • The most common group of people being cared for by respondents was people living with disability, followed by those with a chronic health condition or living with a mental illness.

  • Nearly half of respondents provided care to someone aged 65 years or over.

  • Nationally, respondents spent an average of 104 hours providing care per week, with 49% providing care 24/7. The average length of time respondents had been caring for was 12.9 years.

  • Around half of the carers who responded were experiencing high or very high psychological distress, and felt highly socially isolated.

  • Large numbers of carers reported not being asked about their own needs when accessing aged care, NDIS, and mental health services with or on behalf of the person they cared for.

  • 1 in 2 respondents experienced financial stress and 1 in 7 experienced financial distress.

  • The average wellbeing of carers remains significantly lower than for the general population in Australia.

Further highlights from the NSW and national results can be downloaded from www.carersnsw.org.au/research/survey, with more findings to be published in the coming months.

“Despite COVID-related service interruptions, widespread natural disasters, and an ever-changing service landscape, carers have persevered. However, half of respondents again do not feel that their caring role is recognised by governments, almost 1 in 2 carers still experience some form of financial stress, and, once more, 56% are socially isolated. These are extremely concerning results that need to be urgently addressed” said Ms Katrakis.

“Anyone at any time can become a carer, providing support to a family member or friend who has a disability, mental illness, alcohol or drug dependency, chronic condition, terminal illness or who is frail due to age. We encourage all carers to take some time out for themselves this National Carers Week.”

This year Carers NSW is celebrating National Carers Week with the return of Carers Day Out as well as a range of online events including wellbeing workshops and webinars for carers. A full calendar of NSW events for National Carers Week is available at www.carersnsw.org.au/national-carers-week

The 2022 National Carer Survey was conducted by Carers NSW with the support of the other State and Territory Carer Organisations and an expert reference committee that includes carers, service providers and academics from several universities. Carers NSW receives funding from the NSW Department of Communities and Justice to conduct the biennial Carer Survey, which was conducted nationally for the second time in 2022.


Key Facts:


Supplementary Statistics

• There are approximately 854,300 carers across NSW *i

• It is estimated that carers in Australia provided 2.2 billion hours of unpaid care in 2020. *ii

• The replacement value of that care (the cost were it provided by paid care workers) is estimated at $77.9 billion, over $1.5 billion per week *ii

• The demand for unpaid carers is at an all-time high and set to increase in the future *ii

• Carers lose on average $392,500 of lifetime earnings at age 67, with the top percentile losing $940,000 *iii

i Australian Bureau of Statistics (2018) Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers

ii Deloitte Access Economics (2020) The Economic Value of Informal Care in 2020

iii Evaluate (2022) Caring Costs Us: The economic impact on lifetime income and retirement savings of informal carers. A report for Carers Australia.

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