A PROFILE OF CARERS AND
The Victorian Carers Program created what was for the time a comprehensive socio-demographic profile of Australian carers. 1 Consistent with this generic focus, the findings of Stage 1 of our survey reflected a heterogeneity of carers and a diversity of caregiving roles and circumstances. There were both men and women carers, but, not surprisingly, women predominated. Caregivers covered a large range of ages from fifteen to 80, but consistent with other research most fell in the middle age-ranges, with two-thirds between 30 and 59. Over three-quarters were married or living with a partner. Although a quarter were employed full-time, most were not in paid employment (Table 2.1, p. 256).
Ethnicity is a key indicator of cultural diversity in caregiving (see Chapter 4). A total of 181 caregivers (18% of the total sample) (including 35 who did not speak English) were born in one of over 35 non-English-speaking countries. This figure compares with 17% of the Victorian population born in such countries. 2 Fifty-nine per cent lived in metropolitan Melbourne, with the remaining 41% spread throughout Victoria, but mainly in provincial cities or large rural towns.
There was diversity in carers' relationship to the person they were looking after. The largest group were adult offspring, mostly daughters, caring for parents. Next came those caring for a spouse or partner of which most were wives caring for their husbands. The next largest group were parents, again mostly mothers, caring for children. The