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Carers of Older Australians get Greater Access to Support

Carers of frail older Australians will soon have greater access to support with an expansion of the National Respite for Carers Program rolling out this week.

Minister for Ageing Mark Butler said the expansion was part of the Government’s $3.7 billion Living Longer Living Better aged care reforms and will mean the carers of 2,500 older Australians will get the planned respite they need.

“Caring for someone full time can be physically and emotionally demanding and carers need to be able to take time out from their caring responsibilities,” Mr Butler said. “Respite services allow carers to go to work, relax or catch up with friends and know that their dependents are being looked after.”

Funding will be provided to 55 respite services, which have been selected through an open, competitive funding round.

As part of Living Longer Living Better, the Government announced funding of $54.8 million to streamline and expand support for carers, including expanding access to respite services.  This funding is in addition to the $293 million over two years from 2012-13 for respite services announced in February 2012.

Mr Butler said the expansion round had been specifically targeted at providing additional funding for services to frail aged people in regions where limited or no existing services were currently available.

“Carers play an enormously important role and should have access to respite services regardless of where they live. “This funding will help community services continue to meet the needs of carers who dedicate so much to improve the lives of older people, people with a disability and people living with chronic or terminal illness.”

Respite services are delivered in a number of settings, including day respite in community centres, in-home respite, overnight respite cottages and community outings.