Parental health and disability is considered to be a determinant of health because if the child is to busy looking after their ill or disabled parent they will have no time for themselves therefore they would not be able to go out and socialise like every other teenager would be at that age, they would also not get a proper education because they would have to be looking after their parent and may have to get a part time job to help pay for things.
Across Australia, there are around 380,000 young carers, and170,600 of them are under the age of 18. The Australian institute of health and welfare estimated that 6.7% of young people aged 15-24 years were caring for a family member with a disability in australia in 2003.
The impact of parental illness and disability on children caring for their ill or disabled parent is: Stress, Depression, Behavioural disorders, Restricted opportunities to make friends and form relationships.
VillainsVictimsVolunteered Mothers recently ill 29%30%38% Parental health as an element of problem 2%3%45% Parental health as one of main reasons for admission 4%21%49%
MY MUM HAD A STROKE I'm trying my hardest to continue to take care of everyone My dad has rheumatoid arthritis Caring for my sister and my dad I care for both my parents
In 2005 my mum had a stroke. it was hard for me because was only about eight and I think I had a fight with her that morning before school. when we got home ( we lived a t a caravan park then) we ran up the steps to see our grandpa ( me and my sister Sarah) we said where’s mum and dad he took us inside and told us our mum had had a stroke. started crying, then Sarah started crying then she stoped then I stoped and from then on she had been in a wheelchair, has had speaking disabilities and needs help to do some of the easiest things. she's still in a wheelchair now but is on the road to recovery she can walk a bit and now while I'm writing this she's doing some laps up and down the hall with help form my family and a walker. she's still my mum and I love her the same as I did then but things will never be the same again. I'm in high school now 5 years later and I love helping my mum in her recovery and going to keep helping her for as long as I can! Back to stories
When I was 11 or so my mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and she fought with it for three years and various operations until the cancer took to her entire body and she died. Now five years later my father has got aggressive cancer too, which affects us financially as well as in every other possible way. My wider family are not very nice people and so I am striving to do my best around what I have been given and hope that that there is something more in life then cancer. I have been taking care of my family for the last five years and despite the illness affecting my father and sister's mental states I am trying my hardest to continue take care of everyone as well as hopefully get a chance to live a happy life as a young adult and go to university. Young Carer Aged 18 years Back to stories
Hi my name is Kerri and I'm from New Zealand and I suppose it could be said that i have been a young carer for as long as its kind of possible. my dad has rheumatoid arthritis which means he is severely limited in his mobility which during my childhood caused dad and I to have a bad relationship, we only began working alongside each other when I came home from school one day when I was 14 and found mum who had polycystic kidney disease lying on the ground, I later found out that she had had a severe stroke which caused her to lose all movement in her left hand side of her body, her memory and speech were slightly effected. My mum was put in old peoples home because of her need for 24 hour care so I suppose I was quite lucky to only have to care for dad at home and not her but it was still really hard as it was like having a mum without having a mum. my mum died from complications of the stroke 15 months later which was really hard but it was a relief for me as those 15 months were some of the hardest for me as I really struggled with balancing visiting my mum and doing some small jobs for her, caring for my dad and doing jobs like grocery shopping cooking, washing and many other things and balancing my school work however during that time i had great support from my youth group. also during this time at age 15 I lived at home on my own for 2 months when dad was in hospital in an attempt to heal large ulcers on his lower legs that were causing dads health to further deteriorate fast. Mums bad health and the extra stress on the family further effected dads health and he had to quit his work for the sake of his health which put further stress on our family. 3 years on I am now in my 2nd year of nursing course which was influenced by my life experience. Continue next slide
Dads health has recently been very bad and he needed neck surgery which was scary because the thought of him being a parapalegic was very real and scary, as balancing the desire to become independent and do what i want like all my peers and having to look after dad is really hard. Um thats enough about me but im currenlty looking into starting up a young carers group in my area in New Zealand, because i had never heard about young carers till i was doing research for an essay recently. For any one reading this who is currently looking at moving away from home to go to college and is concerened about leaving those you care for i suggest you talk to them and the rest of your family about it and make the decision that is best for you, i chose to stay in town but hope to be able to leave in a few years. Being that my mum had polycystic kidney disease at age 18 when i was having problems with my kidneys i chose to get tested for this so for young carers whose parents have a heredity disease that you can be tested for, know that there is people out there who feel the same fear about finding out the same concerns about what if you get tested and its positive but there's nothing you can do about it, for conditions that dont have any cure there is no right answer as to whether or nto to be tested when your young unless it will help but u have to make the right decision for you Back to stories
I help care for my sister who has a mental illness called schizo- affective disorder and severe depression and my dad who has diabetes, heart problems, sleep apnoea, and had a hip replacement earlier this year, not to mention all his other illnesses that I can't remember. My sister has been sick for about 2 and a half years now but she is starting to get a bit better. She still has good days and bad days but most of the time she is pretty even. My dad has been sick for about four years now. His illnesses mean that he has to go and see specialists in Melbourne every 6 weeks or so. His hip replacement means that he wasn't able to drive for a while. He can't walk very far or very fast and is considered disabled. I also have a younger sister who helps but as she is younger she doesn't do as much work as I do. We all do work around the house and help care for each other. As my older sister is sick I tend to do most of her work for her and also help to do extra work so that my parents don't have to do it all. I love to cook and I see cooking meals as a way of helping to relieve mum and dads workload. I cook several times a week but I enjoy doing it most of the time. I also help with everyday chores like washing and cleaning. Most of the time I don't see my caring role as a burden. Until I was told I was a Young Carer I had no idea what they were or that they even existed. I thought that what I was doing was the same as what everyone else does. I do help more around the house than my friends do and I am more responsible and mature but I think this will make me better prepared for life than my classmates. Through being a carer I have also made some wonderful friends whom I can talk to about anything. I attended Camp Rathane this year and it was a great opportunity to make new friends and to have a break from my caring role. I also learnt some very important life skills. Thank you to everyone involved in making these camps happen. Young carer, 15 years. Back to stories
I care for both my parents, they both need alot of help that both my sister and I give them but it is mostly me because my sister is always off doing her own thing. My Mum has a brain disorder and suffers from depression; she is almost always falling over. All my friends are supportive to me when I need to talk but it is still really hard. My dad is also suffering from depression and a little bit of memory loss, which I think, is from all the tablets he has taken. See he used to be a drug addict and has been in and out of a drug rehab place. All this has also caused me to go into a depression and have many times thought of committing suicide. My dad has now moved out to sort himself out because he has done so much that has hurt my Mum and us. My sister has also just got sick that is even more stress on everyone. I got through depression because each time I felt like I was going to harm myself I either thought of all the things that was worth living for and all the people I would hurt if I did. Another thing I did is I prayed to god for help and each time I prayed for help to not hurt myself he did help me and I never did end up harming myself. God has been a big part of me still being here. My mum and sister have also been a big part of it as well. Some advice for all of you feeling the same way don't be afraid to talk to somebody whether it is your mum or father or school counsellor talk to someone it will help a lot. Everyone is always there to help and if you do get help you will feel much better and will get through a lot easier. Young Carer, 15 years Back to stories
Based on in-depth interviews with 60 carers, and former carers, aged 16 to 25, the study by researchers at Loughborough University looks at the ways that caring influenced their education, training and employment and how it affected their transition into adult life. It shows that: The caring tasks carried out by young people ranged from domestic chores to emotional support and helping their parents with medication, mobility and personal, intimate care. Nearly all the young carers had parents receiving welfare or disability benefits. Half were living in lone parent families. Some interviewees described how long-term disability and reliance on benefits had led to extreme and enduring financial difficulties for their families. A third of parents were receiving care from social or mental health services. But another third had no support at all. Some families had cancelled their support because they considered services over intrusive, poor quality or too expensive. Only a quarter of those interviewed had paid jobs. Many were in further education, but caring in the home made it difficult to seek part-time work while studying, compounding their financial difficulties.
Half the young carers had missed some school and a quarter had no GCSE qualifications. Non-attendance was usually because of reluctance to leave sick parents alone, but sometimes because parents did not want them to go to school. In a few cases teachers and educational welfare staff had colluded in these absences - possibly because they (mistakenly) believed it was supportive to do so. Only a quarter of those interviewed had paid jobs. Many were in further education, but caring in the home made it difficult to seek part-time work while studying, compounding their financial difficulties. Leaving home was a problem for many young carers. Some had delayed moving out because of the need to continue caring for their parents. However, a few young people whose parents had severe mental health problems had left home prematurely - sometimes to be taken into care.
Who are young carers? Young carers are young people up to the age of 25 who provide care to a family member or friend with an illness, disability, mental health issue, alcohol or other drug problem or who is frail aged. They help with medications and appointments, shopping and even paying the bills, as well as watching out to make sure the person they're caring for is feeling okay.