Carer Gateway is a one-stop-shop for information and services that can assist carers
Respite services can be accessed through Carer Gateway, including emergency respite
The service can also provide information about a range of topics including financial supports and connect you with support groups or counselling
But where can you go if you are beginning to struggle with the duties of being a carer? Your first and best point of call is to contact Carer Gateway. You can visit the Carer Gateway website or call the helpline, 1800 422 737, to find services and supports near you.
This Government initiative is aiming to improve the lives of people who provide invaluable caring duties in Australia.
Carer Gateway is the best place to go for information and advice about being a carer, get access to services and supports specifically for carers, educate yourself through counselling services or coaching, and to find carer support groups.
If you are looking to access respite care services, whether that is in the community, at home, or in a residential aged care facility, you can contact Carer Gateway to find out your options.
Carer Gateway service providers can assist you in finding a respite placement for an older loved one so you can have time to do chores, go to personal appointments, catch up with friends or family, go on a holiday, or due to an emergency.
Taking time off from your caring duties is an important part of self-care for a carer, it allows you to recharge your batteries so you can continue with your caring duties.
When you call Carer Gateway, you can discuss what respite will suit your needs as well as what is available near you.
Respite care tends to be organised based on what services are available in your area, when the next opening is or if you need a specific time, what care the older person requires, and if the respite is needed urgently.
Booking respite care ahead of time can be really smart as sometimes respite can be booked out in your area.
If you are caring for a person who is 65 and over, you may need to contact My Aged Care to organise respite care for your older loved one in the community or in aged care. This can be beneficial if you can get respite care through your Government-subsidised Home Care Package or the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP).
If you require respite in an emergency, you can still call Carer Gateway to organise emergency respite care. For more information about emergency respite, read our article on the Aged Care Guide.
Emergency respite is generally for unexpected events like, a carer dying or experiencing a major illness, a loved one of the carer dying, family problems or mental illness, or someone requiring care has their health and safety threatened by something.
You can access emergency respite 24/7 on the Carer Gateway helpline, 1800 422 737.
Financial information and support
Being an informal carer can be expensive, especially if it limits your ability to work or if you have to pay for supports for your older loved one.
Carer Gateway provides information on what payments are available for carers, including financial assistance or health-related financial assistance.
Carer Gateway also highlights the Carer Directed Support service, which provides carers with support in their caring role. This support may be once off, like purchasing educational items or undergoing a training course, or can be for other long term supports, like respite, cleaning or shopping assistance, help with cooking, or transport.
There is also easy access to concession schemes that can benefit carers financially, including tax and super concessions, State or Territory specific carer concessions, and cheaper travel and events information.
Carer advice and other supports
Carer Gateway also has a lot of helpful resources for carers to access that can assist with the day to day of being a carer.
Everything from "caring basics", to advice on practical caring help in the home, or ways to bust your stress.
If you are becoming overwhelmed or isolated due to your caring duties, you can access the Carer Gateway's free counselling service (accessible from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm).
You can talk through your issues and feelings with an impartial counsellor, and get helpful strategies for combating stress.
If you are feeling like you are out of your depth as a carer, there are easy to use coaching services and carer skill courses, which can help you build your skills as a carer.
Carer Gateway also provides a community forum for different caring topics you may have questions about and need answered.
You can ask a question and get help from other carers who may have experienced the same issue.
If you require other professionals to help you in your caring duties, your local service provider can link you to the right professionals who can assist you.
No matter where you are in Australia, you will be able to access and speak to an organisation that provides Carer Gateway services.
There are different organisations providing Carer Gateway services in each State and Territory, so you know you will always be connected to a local support. They are:
ACT: Carers ACT
New South Wales: The Benevolent Society (for North, East and West Sydney), Wellways Australia (for South West Sydney, and the Nepean and Blue Mountains), Live Better (for South East NSW, the Murrumbidgee region, and Western NSW), and Carers NSW (for Hunter, New England, Central Coast, and North Coast regions)
Northern Territory: Carers NT
Queensland: Wellways Australia
South Australia: Carers SA
Victoria: Merri Health
Western Australia: Carers WA
Generally, when you call Carer Gateway, it will redirect you to the closest service provider to you.
How to contact the service?
Carer Gateway is just a phone call away on 1800 422 737 and is staffed from Monday to Friday between 8 am to 5 pm. You can request a call back after hours. You can also visit the Carer Gateway website to access all its information and resources.
If you are from a culturally and linguistically diverse background (CALD) and English is not your first language, then you can contact the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS), on 13 14 50, to translate the information for you or to translate your call with Carer Gateway.
Additionally, some of the information on Carer Gateway is already translated into certain languages.
If you have issues with reading on the website, each page has a text to speech function, you can just click on the 'listen' button at the top of the Carer Gateway pages.
If you have an impairment that affects your ability to hear, see or speak, then visit the Department of Infrastructure website to find the right National Relay Service option for you.
Have you accessed Carer Gateway before? Did you find their services helpful? Tell us in the comments below.