THE IMPACT ON CARERS'
EMPLOYMENT AND FINANCES
Some people found paid employed a way to get respite from caregiving: 'It has helped me to go out working. I feel I need to have somewhere I can go independently and at work I can close the door on everything.' But the constancy of caregiving and the lack of respite facilities precluded that opinion for some.
The adverse financial impacts of caregiving have been frequently raised and reported in the literature across a variety of caregiving situations. 1 Findings on the proportion of carers who experience financial strain and its extent, differ depending on the focus of the study: that is, expenditure directly related to care (e.g.community care, medical or residential services, household equipment), current indirect costs (e.g. income forgone, relocation expenses and damage to property) or, especially for women carers, the lifetime opportunity costs of reduced participation in the workforce.
Financial hardship can affect carers' emotional well-being and reduce the capacity to buy services and other practical items which help in caregiving, as well as the social, therapeutic and recreational resources which enhance the quality of life of the carer, care-recipient and other family members. 2
Federal Government policies have tried to help carers financially in the ongoing care of their dependent relatives. Health care coverage through Medicare, public hospital treatment and pharmaceutical