Date Posted:28 June 2016
With Australia’s ageing population only set to grow, it’s crucial that our society meet the rising demand for informal carers.
Skills for A Changing Nation – Educating Australia’s Caregivers
With Australia’s ageing population only set to grow, it’s crucial that our society meet the rising demand for informal carers. One in seven (14%) Australians were over the age of 65 as of 2012 and this number is set to reach 25% by 2056 – comparable to Japan’s current demographics.
Rising numbers of older Australians will mean a greater need for caregivers. Currently 42% of all older Australians require assistance. For every activity requiring assistance barring health care, the number of older Australians receiving informal care far exceeded the number of older Australians enrolled in formal care programs. This demonstrates a clear need for effective support of informal carers.
The need for comprehensive education
With 11.6 per cent of all Australians functioning as carers for an elderly Australian or person with a disability, it is imperative that these people are equipped with the knowledge they need to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the care recipient.
A 2010 study indicated that attendance of a family education program by caregivers of people with dementia can aid in reducing the burden on caregivers; five 90-minute sessions held weekly using lectures and group discussions produced a 17-point drop in the mean caregivers’ burden as measured by Zarit’s caregiver burden scale.
Equipping tomorrow’s primary carers
Crucial caregiver education does not have to be done later in life. Educating students on how the body ages and the most common disabilities and conditions arising over the age of 65 during secondary school level health classes can provide young Australians with the knowledge needed to care for their parents later in life. With the median age of fathers (mothers) of nuptial births at 34.0 (31.7) years as of 2010, many year 12-age students could be caring for a senior-aged parent as soon as their early 30s, it is crucial to provide a foundational education for potential carers.
For teaching resources relating to ageing and disability, please speak to Mentone Educational today.
 Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2012). Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2012 (cat. no. 4430.0). Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/05469E71B8D5CCF8CA257C21000E4FA6?opendocument
 Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). Population Projections, Australia, 2006 to 2101 (cat. no. 3222.0). Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Previousproducts/3222.0Main%20Features12006%20to%202101?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=3222.0&issue=2006%20to%202101&num=&view=
 O’Connor S. World will have 13 ‘super-aged’ nations by 2020 - FT.com. Financial Times. 2014. Available at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f356f8a0-1d8c-11e4-8f0c-00144feabdc0.html#axzz4CjcHHsmJ. Accessed June 27, 2016.
 Australian Bureau of Statistics. Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2012, Table 29
 Australian Bureau of Statistics. Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2012
 Pahlavanzadeh S, Heidari FG, Maghsudi J, Ghazavi Z, Samandari S. The effects of family education program on the caregiver burden of families of elderly with dementia disorders. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research. 2010;15(3):102-108.
 Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2010). Births, Australia, 2010 (cat. no. 3301.0). Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/EB94F978573DD478CA25793300167581?opendocument
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