About the campaign
The need to provide care for an ill, seriously injured, frail elderly, or disabled family member or friend can happen overnight, or develop gradually. Caring can be for a short time, or for a lifetime. We can all expect to give or receive family care during our lives.
Caring can be very rewarding, but it can also be all-consuming, requiring considerable personal sacrifice. Most carers happily provide this support without expectation of financial reward or recognition. They give a lot, and ask for little.
But Carers NZ and the NZ Carers Alliance (44 national not-for-profits) worry about carers. Are many being asked to give too much, without enough support or concern for their own wellbeing?
- Almost 40% of carers are injured in their role.
- 45% have health and disability needs of their own.
- More than 26% of carers support more than one person.
- More than 40% care 24/7.
- Two thirds experience depression.
- A high number feel they need to give up paid employment to care when the juggle becomes too much.
- Census 2006 found that more than 8% of 15 to 24 year olds are carers.
- Our country has no idea how many children under the age of 15 are caring.
- For older people, caring is an independent mortality risk.
Support for our country's 420,000+ carers.
Caring is a precious role that truly deserves public praise, greater visibility, and respectful support by society and government. We Care! aims to raise awareness of New Zealand's family, whanau, and aiga carers ... and to call for thoughtful decision-making so carers can get the help they have repeatedly asked for in government consultations.
Like most countries, New Zealand's population is ageing. We are living longer, at home and with higher support needs than past generations. Our small country's health and social welfare systems can't afford to fund the 24/7 support many New Zealanders with health and disability needs will require to 'age in place'. More than ever before, New Zealand is relying on its family carers.
How you can help.
We are asking you, all political parties, and the Prime Minister, John Key, to take steps to value carers. Caring is part of every family, every neighbourhood, every community. We can all do something to recognise and support a carer.
If you know a carer, take an interest in their wellbeing. Think of ways to help them and those they assist. Then act on your ideas.
If you are a health professional, or support worker, or one of the myriad people or agencies who interact with carers each day, please listen to their concerns, and respond to their needs. Follow through if a carer asks for help. Small things (truly listening, spending that bit of extra time with a stressed or lonely carer) make such a difference.
If you are an employer, you may not realise that many of your workers have caring commitments at home. Please talk to us about ways to support your caring employees. Most of our suggestions cost nothing, or very little, and can yield real benefits in productivity, retention, cost savings, loyalty, and workplace morale.
If you are an MP or the Prime Minister of New Zealand, you have the power to make things better for carers. Please do use your power to help carers. Because if you don't care, how can we?
Contribute to the campaign.
The We Care! campaign will run through the 2011 general election to mid 2012. Your financial contributions will help us to sustain our work to raise awareness of caring, and to encourage better decision-making for carers. Donations may be made to:
Carers NZ Trust, Donation Account, 12 3096 0298326 02
Or, you can make a credit card donation by phoning us at (0800) 777 797. Another way to support the campaign: click here to view our Fundraise Online page.
Your donation will be used to print post cards, cover costs to help carers attend events, and promote the campaign to as many Kiwis as possible. We Care! has been collectively funded by Carers NZ and the NZ Carers Alliance. Thank you for contributing to help us care for New Zealand's carers.
Ask for help.
If you are a carer, or know a carer, please request a free infopack ... there may be government and other help you don't know about. Phone (0800) 777 797 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Bulk infopacks are available for groups and organisations; please get in touch to help carers in your networks!
Photo: Caring Moments collection. © Terry Winn, a project with Carers NZ.
NZ Carers Alliance Participants
@ Heart, Access to Medicines Coalition, Age Concern NZ, Allergy NZ, Alzheimers NZ, ANZMES (Associated NZ ME Society), Aotearoa Maori Whanau Carers Network, Arthritis NZ, Autism NZ, BALANCE NZ, Cancer Society of NZ, Carers NZ, CCS Disability Action, Cerebral Palsy Society of NZ, Complex Care Group, Cystic Fibrosis Association of NZ, DHB Mental Health Family Advisors, Diabetes NZ, Epilepsy NZ, Federation of Disability Information Centres, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, Hospice NZ, IHC, Integrated Neurological Rehabilitation Foundation (iNRF), Kidney Kids, Lysosomal Diseases NZ, MS Society, Muscular Dystrophy Association of NZ, Neurological Alliance, NZ Continence Association, NZ Down Syndrome Association, NZ Organisation for Rare Disorders, NZ Spinal Trust, Parent to Parent, Parents of Vision Impaired NZ Inc, Parkinsons NZ, Phobic Trust of NZ Inc, Rescare NZ, Retina NZ Inc, SAMS, Supporting Families in Mental Illness NZ, Stroke Foundation, The Angelman Network, TOA Pacific, Young Carers NZ.