A carer is someone who provides unpaid care or emotional support to a family member/s or friend with disability, mental ill health, chronic or life-limiting condition, alcohol or other drug dependence or who is frail or aged.

Many people don’t see themselves as a carer. They often see themselves as only a family member or friend. It is very likely that most of us will take on the role of carer at some stage of our lives, and it is important to know that free support and services exist to help carers in their role.

In Australia, over 2.65 million people support a family member or friend. In Tasmania alone, over 80,000 people provide unpaid care and emotional support to the person they care for. Unpaid carers are different from employed support workers, who are paid for their service and time.

Caring for a family member or friend can involve:

  • Doing housework (e.g., cleaning, shopping, or preparing meals)
  • Supporting them with their personal care
  • Helping them safely move around the house or when they are out and about
  • Assisting them with finances and paperwork
  • Taking them to appointments or reminding/supporting them with medications

Carers also provide social support and companionship to the person they care for.

Carers come from all walks of life, cultural backgrounds, age groups, genders and many different family situations.

Some are full-time carers, while others juggle caring with work and studies. Some carers may also have their own health concerns or disability. Some people become carers gradually, while others are thrust into the role by a serious health crisis or accident. Some carers live with the person they are caring for; others may just visit on a regular basis.


Find out what support you may be eligible for.

Take this 2-minute interactive quiz and find out what support could look like. Before you take this quiz, think of all the things you do to support the person you care for and how you feel.