Eurobodalla Shire Council (ESC) candidate Deirdre Russack knows from first hand experience, as a registered nurse and midwife, the importance of caring, whether it’s a nurse caring for a patient in a nursing home or hospital, or a family member caring for an elderly parent or a family member with a disability.

That’s why Deirdre and the rest of the Eurobodalla Labor for Council team are joining in National Carers Week from 10-16 October to recognise the thousands of formal and informal care arrangements in place on the NSW south coast, and especially in Eurobodalla.

“This week is an opportunity to recognise, celebrate, and raise awareness among all Australians about the diversity of Australia’s 2.65 million carers and their caring roles,” Ms Russack said today. “Carers make an enormous contribution to our local community as well as to our national economy.

“Carers can be a family member or friend who provides unpaid care and support for someone who has a disability, chronic condition, terminal illness, is frail aged, has a mental health illness, or alcohol or other drug related issue,” she said.

The Eurobodalla region is home to the sixth largest concentration of seniors across Australia with 13,000 local residents aged over 65 — the highest number in this group, by percentage, in any NSW local government area (30.5% aged 65+ and 12.8% aged 75+).

“With life expectancy increasing, more and more baby boomers (those born after 1946) will begin to enter the 75+ cohort this decade, which of course will add greater demands on council’s services and programs,” Ms Russack said.

“Aged care workers and carers – paid and unpaid – deserve our thanks from everyone in the community for their work.”

Residential aged services employ more than 550 locals, and as many again are employed across the nine aged care facilities from Bateman’s Bay to Narooma.

“Many Eurobodalla residents care for their elderly family members  including with the support of ESC-funded services connecting them to community, promoting their independence and supporting their health and well-being,” Ms Russack said.

Eurobodalla Labor for Council applauds the continuing commitment to providing support for older people through community services involving a mix of council, not-for-profit agencies and commercial enterprises.

“Anyone can be a carer, but many people don’t identify as one; their duties might cover help and support with a range of daily activities, including dressing, showering, arranging  appointments or managing medications.

“Carers are an important part of Eurobodalla’s health system and are the foundation of our aged, disability, palliative and community care systems.

“In council, we will not only continue to support carers, but also reach out to the community for feedback, ideas and suggestions on what could be done better through the establishment of a new community services committee specifically to address the needs of the shire’s large and growing cohort aged 65 and older; if anyone knows what’s needed, it’s the people in this age group as well as their carers,” Ms Russack added.

Labor’s candidates in the 4 December local government elections are: for mayor, David Grace from Broulee; and as councillors, Maureen Searson from Batehaven, Matthew Findlay from Batemans Bay, Claire McAsh from Moruya, Deirdre Russack from Narooma, and Jack Egan from Rosedale.

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