Outlet Spotlight: Carer Conversations
“If you are a carer, you are allowed to take time to look after yourself. You are just as important as the person you take care of”
Over 2.7 million Australians are solely responsible for the care of another human being. These carers are often putting the needs of another ahead of their own, which leads to feelings of isolation and burnout. Having long been relegated to the margins of the cultural conversation, carers are now finally front and centre in The Benevolent Society’s Carer Conversations, produced in conjunction with Carer Gateway.
Carer Gateway is a federal government initiative first introduced in 2015 as a website and phone line. It has since grown into an extensive series of programs to provide free services and support for those that care for the country’s most vulnerable. One of the many organisations the Carer Gateway works with is The Benevolent Society. Founded in 1813 as Australia’s first charity, The Benevolent Society is a driving force in the fight for social change and the push toward a just society where all people can live their best lives.
“Our mission with this podcast is to provide information, resources and inspiration to empower carers who invest so much time and energy in their caring role,” says Patty Kikos, host of Carer Conversations, as well as a qualified counsellor and coach at The Benevolent Society. “Our aim is to make the invisible nature of the caring role more well known and to validate carers in their role.”
It was important for Patty and the Benevolent society team to highlight the real stories and experiences of the carers themselves to provide a balanced perspective. Being a carer is rewarding but the challenges carers face are seldom highlighted. Many carers don’t have easy access to the kind of support and resources that can assist them in their caring and this can result in vastly inferior outcomes, especially for marginalised groups. “We’re going to cover a range of topics from carers sharing their own stories,” says Patty. “Especially from the CALD, LGBTQI and First Nations communities.”
The first two episodes of the series feature an exploration of the Carer Gateway as well as an observation of the unique experience of grieving for someone who is still living. “Episodes 3 and 4 will be a special two-part episode featuring insights from Fiona Aldridge from Autism Spectrum Australia,” says Patty. “Fiona specialises in the assessment and diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Learning Difficulties and will discuss in-depth how they are diagnosed while offering advice to parents or carers who have concerns about their children.”
New episodes of Carer Conversations are released periodically and it’s available on all major podcast platforms.