Like many other developed Western nations, Australia’s population is ageing. This is largely due to Australians having fewer children, combined with a higher life expectancy thanks to developments in modern medicine and lifestyle improvements.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of Australians over the age of 85 increased by 141 per cent between 1996 and 2016. In fact, over the past two decades, the number of centenarians (people aged 100 years and over) in Australia has increased by 271 per cent. Compare this with a population growth of just 32 per cent over the same time-frame.

Taking leave to care for elderly parents

As a result, there is increasing pressure and reliance on working-age Australians (mainly women in more senior positions) having to take carer’s leave to care for their elderly parents. In a recent article by the Australian HR Institute, Professor Anne Bardoel from Swinburne University of Technology explained that while focus in workplaces has primarily been on parents with young children, less is recognised about employees who care for friends and family members who are elderly, have long-term health conditions or have a disability.

What is carer's leave?

Also known as personal leave, this type of leave allows employees to take time off in the event of a family emergency or to perform caring responsibilities. You can use this leave to care for immediate family members, like your partner, child, grandchild or parent.

Full-time employees are currently entitled to 10 paid carer's leave days per year of employment.

We've experienced this first hand

This is all too familiar to our Like Family community, with our cofounder Mat bringing his parents from Montreal all the way to Sydney so he could support them. Mat’s father was recovering from lung cancer while his mother was recuperating from a brain virus called encephalitis. Like many Australians, husband-and-wife team Mat and Jenna both were busy with their full-time jobs, and could not always be there to provide the day-to-day care and assistance needed by his parents. This scenario is becoming an increasing trend in Australia and many parts of the world. So are there any support options out there which can help?

We came up with an aged care alternative

Mat’s parents did not require aged care workers, who can be expensive and impersonal. They just needed a consistent, friendly face who could provide companionship, take his parents out and about in their community, and assist with non-medical everyday tasks.

After searching high and low for the right aged care provider, Mat and Jenna's solution was found in a young, kind woman who would take Mat’s parents to the beach and play guitar with his father. From that point onwards, Mat and Jenna launched Like Family and made it their mission to find similar passionate Social Carers in their community who could provide support to those who need it.

Over the years building Like Family, Mat and Jenna have witnessed the relief of unpaid carers, who have their own time back and are reassured their loved one is being looked after, the improved lifestyles of those who need assistance, the delight from Social Carers looking for work with purpose, as well as genuine bonds of friendship formed between Members and Social Carers as they teach new skills, engage in shared interests and attend events together.

Join Like Family today

Like Family can help those who live on the east coast of Australia, are working full-time and need assistance with caring for their elderly parents. We have a network of over 3,000 compassionate Social Carers who help people in need to increase their independence and enjoy life to the fullest.

If your elderly parents need assistance with cooking, attending appointments, running errands, gardening or just general non-medical care and companionship, Like Family matches your loved one with a local Social Carer who aligns with their experience requirements, values and interests. We have successful strategies to help introduce Social Carers to any parents who are feeling proud and reluctant to receive assistance. Sign up now to see for yourself why we have over 100 5-star ratings on Google.