It’s a big week of celebration with our Carer Conversations podcast turning one ahead of National Carers Week (October 15-21).
The Benevolent Society, in association with Carer Gateway, launched the podcast in 2022 to help support the 2.65 million Australians who provide care and support to a family member or friend.
Hosted by counsellor and coach Patty Kikos, it features interviews with experts and carers who share specialised information and inspiring stories about their caring role.
Designed to empower and inform carers, 18 episodes have been released since launch with two out this month to honour National Carers Week.
“National Carers Week is a time to recognise, celebrate and broaden awareness about the important work that carers do when supporting their loved ones,” Patty says.
“To mark this special week, we’re releasing two podcast episodes this month. The first interview is with Mitch Gibson, who cared for and then lost her great love to pancreatic cancer. Not only did she sell her business to care for him, but she has also re-invented herself in the process and has become a grief counsellor herself through The Violet Initiative.
“Our second episode this month is with the CEO of WayAhead, whose daughter was born with a mild intellectual and physical disability. After learning to thrive and even compete in dressage with able bodied riders, she was then diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 22.”
Who are carers?
Carers are a family member or friend who provide care and support for someone that has a disability, a medical condition, mental illness or who is frail due to age.
“Caring may include help and support with a range of daily activities, including providing emotional support for their loved one, dressing, showering, arranging doctors’ appointments or managing medications,” Patty says.
Anyone can become a carer at any time. “Our guests on the podcast have shown us that there are only four categories of people,” Patty adds. “Those who have been carers, those who are carers, those who will be carers and those will need carers.”
Carers represent a diverse range of cultures, ages, experiences and responsibilities, but all of them balance caring responsibilities with other commitments like work, study and their physical and mental health.
“Initially, we wanted to share important information and provide inspiration for our carers, but over time, we have seen the importance of holding the space for carers to have the difficult conversations that they are reluctant to share with others. This podcast has helped a traditionally invisible role become more visible in society, and we are so grateful for the stories that our carers have shared with our listeners.” she says.
Caring for Carers
If you’re a carer, then Carer Gateway can help you. Carer Gateway is an Australian Government program providing free services and support for carers.
Services include in-person and online peer support groups, tailored support packages, counselling, coaching, online skills courses and access to emergency respite.
“Accessing services through the Carer Gateway is simple,” Patty says. “The 1800 number is 1800 422 737. When you call this number, it will put you into direct contact with the service provider in your area.”
There are Carer Gateway service providers across Australia, including The Benevolent Society which supports Metropolitan Sydney [excluding South Western Sydney and Nepean].
Over the last 12 months, Patty has interviewed a vast array of guests and covered a number of topics including the journey of grief, understanding autism, dementia and young carers. She has also interviewed Indigenous carers, as well as carers from the LGBTQI+ and neurodivergent communities.
“Our mission with this podcast is to provide information, resources and inspiration to empower carers who invest so much time and energy in their caring role,” Patty says.
"We’re incredibly proud of the Carer Conversations we have had this year – our interviews are always informative and inspiring, providing tools and strategies to benefit carers.”
Subscribe to Carer Conversations wherever you listen to your podcasts including Apple, Spotify and other platforms. For more information on The Benevolent Society’s Carer Gateway program and podcast, click here.
For more information about Carer Gateway, call 1800 422 737 or visit carergateway.gov.au