Kids' Health
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Young carers

disabled; carer; invalid;

Whatever kind of family you live in it is usually the adults who look after the kids.


  • They may go out to work, work from home, travel around for work or their job may take them away from home.
  • They work to earn the money to look after the family. Sometimes we say that these people are the ‘breadwinners” of the family.
  • They work to pay for somewhere safe to live, food, clothing, education and all the things that a family needs.

But, sometimes something can go wrong, and a breadwinner can no longer work.

Sometimes someone who looked after you now needs looking after.

Here are some topics we have written to help you if your parent or caregiver is unable to take care of the family as they used to, and how you might cope with the changes that may mean.

This topic is about when a parent or carer needs your help at home because she or he cannot manage all the things that they used to do.

Why your parent/carer  might need your help

  • Maybe your mum, dad or whoever cares for you now needs your help to manage the problems their health makes.
  • Maybe there was an accident, in a car, at work, at home and now that person is disabled.
  • Maybe he or she had a stroke or heart problems and needs help.
  • Maybe he or she has an illness or health problem which is getting worse as time goes by.
  • The person who has always looked after you may need you to help look after him or her.

What can you do?

You might:

  • ask what you could do that might be helpful
  • take on more jobs around the house
  • do some of the cooking
  • help to feed someone who cannot feed himself or herself
  • ‘fetch and carry’ stuff that is needed to look after her or him
  • sit with that person and talk together
  • help do the shopping — and not ask for treats if money is tight
  • maybe you could help him or her with the exercise program
  • maybe you could watch tv together
  • maybe you could read books, newspaper articles or get ‘talking books’ from the library
  • maybe you could record interesting programs from free tv
  • maybe they could tell you stories about your family and what it was like when they were a kid

Take care of yourself

 Even though you are caring for someone else, it is important that you remember to take care of yourself as well.

Family, fitness and finances are very important parts of life.

All the people in the family are affected if an adult becomes disabled. This is a time when families need to work together, care for each other and take care of the person who is not able to look after him or herself.

In Australia, there are Social Services who will help and support families in many ways but it is also important that you take care of yourself.

You still need time for yourself.

Time for:

Dr Kate 
  • going to school and keeping up with your learning
  • seeing friends
  • keeping yourself fit
  • talking through worries with trusted adults
  • having a break from helping to care for someone in your family
  • enjoying just being a kid!

Your parent also needs to talk with your teacher so that you can be supported with your school work and spend time with your friends.

Dr Kate says

Dr Kate 

Helping to take care of parent is not always easy.

Feeling angry and frustrated at times is normal. If you are not managing these feelings very well then you need to talk about it with one of your trusted adults.


Carers Australia SA is an organisation which helps and supports young carers like yourself or someone you know. Visit their website on the link below to find out how they can help you or a young carer you know.  

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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