EDITORIAL: The words ‘thank you’ cost nothing

THE devotion of Norm Gardner to his wife Audrey is heart-warming to see, as they celebrate 25 years of wedded bliss.

But while Audrey is rightfully delighted with Norm's wonderful gift of a mobility scooter, it's a shame that she had to wait for such a special occasion to receive it.

Norm admits the pair struggles financially, with his carer's allowance providing just $121 a fortnight on top of their pensions.

That is a tiny amount, compared to the cost of providing an outside carer which would be necessary if Norm couldn't do the job.

People who care for their loved ones often give up paid work opportunities to do so, and while they generally can offer more understanding, compassion and support than a paid carer, it usually comes at a cost - financially and emotionally.

There are more than 2.5 million carers in Australia - imagine the cost to the healthcare system if they all decided they couldn't provide that care any more, because their finances were stretched too thin and they needed to go back to work.

Given the state of Australia's finances, a significant pay rise for carers seems unlikely to appear any time soon.

Carers Week might be "just another week" for some people, but it's an opportunity to say thank you and show our support.

Our carers deserve much more than that, but it's a start at least.



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