Carer Conversations

Introducing Carer Conversations

Episode Summary

This is an introduction to our podcast and about the services Carer Gateway can provide. Your host, Patty Kikos will answer questions such as, what is a carer? What kinds of services and support can I access through Carer Gateway? You’ll hear an easy step-by-step guide about the process of getting registered, and will hear how simple it is for carers to get the support they need such as services, carer directed support, counselling coaching, online and face to face workshops.

Episode Notes

Carer Gateway is the Australian Government's national carer hub providing reliable services, supports and advice specifically for carers. Services are free to access for anyone caring for a family member or friend who is living with a disability, a long-term medical condition, mental illness, alcohol or drug dependency or someone who is frail due to age.

Carer Gateway is accessed from the national website or by calling 1800 422 737 between 8am - 5pm Monday to Friday. Stay up to date with Carer Gateway via the Facebook page.

The Benevolent Society is the chosen Carer Gateway Service Provider in metropolitan Sydney (excluding South Western Sydney and Nepean). When you call the Carer Gateway number, the call is automatically directed to the service provider in your area.



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Host – Patty Kikos

Producers – Patty Kikos and John Hresc

Sound Engineer – John Hresc



Carer Gateway is proud to offer emotional and practical services and support for carers with the aim of making your life easier.

You can call us on 1800 422 737 to find out more about peer support groups, counselling, coaching, online skills courses, tailored support packages, emergency respite, other government supports, as well as tips and information, or visit our online home at

Got some questions or thoughts for Patty or the team? Email us at and put ‘Attention Patty’ in the subject line.


The Benevolent Society acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the Land we have recorded this podcast on, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. 

Episode Transcription


From the Carer Gateway at the Benevolent Society, we welcome you to, Carer Conversations with your host Patty Kikos.

The Care Gateway is the Australian Government national care hub and provides reliable services, support and advice especially for carers.

This podcast is where we share interviews with guests that have specialized knowledge to help support carers to look after their emotional, mental and physical well-being.

We are recording on Aboriginal country, on lands which were never ceded. We acknowledge the traditional custodians and cultural knowledge holders of these lands and waters. We pay our respects to Aboriginal elders, past and present.

Always was, always will be.


Welcome everyone, it's exciting to be here sharing our very first Carer Gateway podcast.

My name is Patty and I'll be your interviewer each month.

My mission is to host a platform where carers in Australia can access information, resources and inspiration that can empower them in their caring role.

This session will be a little different to the rest as it will be one of the only times that you'll be listening to me and only me, because today I want to tell you a little about the Carer Gateway.

Who we are, what we do, how we came about and how you can access us.

But for the rest of our time together, I'll be interviewing guests from a variety of different industries that have specialized knowledge that can provide tools and strategies that can benefit you as a carer.

In fact, this podcast is specifically for carers, and like many of our recent online workshops that have been developed and become so popular in the last year, they have done so because of your feedback.

We asked what you wanted more of you then told us, and we delivered.

This is the vision I'm also holding for this podcast.

If there are any specific topics you'd like more information on, please reach out to any of your Carer Gateway contacts and let us know. We'd love to provide those resources for you as carers.

Now back to today.

Who are we at the Carer Gateway?

You know, if you'd asked me a couple of years ago, I don't know that I would have been able to answer. The Australian government took action on a topic that had been prolific for some time, and that was the fact that the people who care for others also need support, and after many years of developing this program, the Carer Gateway was born.

The Carer Gateway is a national service to support carers like yourself.

Today I want to give you a little introduction about the Carer Gateway service. An overview of the support and the services that are available both nationally, and within your local area, and how to register and receive this assistance to improve your well-being within the caring role.

Carers are incredible people, and we appreciate everything that you do to support that special person in your life who needs you. As you know, being a carer is rewarding, but it can also have its challenges.

Sometimes you may feel all alone in your caring role. It's important for you to know that you're actually not alone. In fact, there are approximately 2.7 million carriers in Australia.

The Australian government recognizes the important role that you have as a carer, and to support you, they have designed the Carer Gateway in consultation with other carers, to provide a range of practical support to nurture your well-being, and to provide you with tools to sustain you in your caring role.

Carers are people who look after someone who needs help with their day-to-day living.

Carers can be of any age. The definition for carer under the Care of Recognition Act in 2010 is someone who gives care and support to a relative or a friend who either has a disability, a mental health condition, a life limiting health or medical condition, or a frail because they are older.

You are not considered to be a carer if you're employed to look after someone.

If you work as a volunteer for an organization, or if you were doing work experience as part of a course.

Through the Carer Gateway, you can access national services through the website, or face to face services through your local service provider when you call the national number, it will automatically connect you to your local service provider.

The Carer Gateway website offers national support which provides clear, consistent, and reliable information to help you navigate assistance and services at your own leisure and at your own pace.

Through the national website you can access phone coaching, phone counseling and this is all between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM.

You can also access online support community forums which cover a wide range of topics. You also have access to online self-guided coaching as well as online carer skills courses such as dealing with stress, effective communication techniques, legal issues, social connection and even relaxation methods.

And there's so much more online information such as help, advice, tips, and even real-life stories.

If you are curious, I'd encourage you to go and have a peek at the website which is

We'll be sure to share those contact details with you again at the end of the podcast as well.

So how do you begin your carer journey through the Gateway?

Accessing services through the Carer Gateway is simple. Our 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.

It's also important for you to know that you don't need to be a citizen or a resident of Australia. 

To access the Carer Gateway - once we answer your call, we complete an Intake and a Registration, and we do this so that we can gain a brief understanding about you and your caring role.

It also helps us determine your eligibility and the urgency of your request.

Once you are registered, a team member will contact you to chat further about your caring role using a tool that we call ‘The Carer Star’, and this will help us identify your needs.

The Carer Star is a conversation that can take about 30 to 40 minutes, so we usually schedule a time that's convenient for you to make sure that you've got enough time to chat.

After we talk through The Carer Star, which I'll go into more detail about soon, we set goals and shared actions to support you in your caring role.

If need be, we will also coordinate any packages that you might receive with your consent, and we can also link you to other supports that might be of benefit to you.

Will also monitor the service to ensure that everything is going well for you.

And finally, we'll actually review the service that you have received through the Carer Gateway.

This means that we will revisit The Carer Star, so that you can get a better understanding of how you're progressing in your caring journey and whether or not you might need more services.

We also ask for your feedback so we can continually improve the Carer Gateway service for you.

There are seven key areas that we focus on when completing the Carer Star.

Research has found that these are the 7 main topics which impact carers well-being the most.

This tool provides us with an opportunity to discuss your well-being, as most often carers focus their attention on the day-to-day care and the needs of the care recipient, as opposed to their own.

We have found that talking through these 7 areas gives you time to pause in your caring role and to think about what your needs are, and to recognize the areas that you're already excelling in.

Let's go over the 7 topics to give you a clearer understanding of what to expect.

So the first topic is your health.

We may ask how your health is.

Do you have any health concerns?

Does the caring role limit you from seeing the doctor?

We ask you things like whether you have time for exercise and what you do to take care of your health and maybe even when the last time was that you saw your GP.

The second question that we ask is related to your caring role 

We'd like to know whether you feel that you've got the skills, the understanding and the support that you need to manage your caring role.

Do you have access to formal support such as My Aged Care or the NDIS, or do family or friends support you?

The third area is all about how you're managing at home

We ask whether you find it hard to keep up with your housework.

Are you finding it hard to maintain your home?

Do you get tasks done around the house such as cooking and cleaning?

The 4th topic is whether you have time for yourself 

and this is another important area to determine whether you actually have time out from your caring role.

We might ask what type of activities would you like to do if you did have more time for yourself?

Do you get time to decompress?

Do you have enough time to do the things that you love and that you can you do?

The 5th question we ask you is about how you feel 

And this is mostly around your emotional well-being.

We explore how you're managing stress and anxiety, which many carers experience in the caring role.

Do you feel supported in your caring role or are you experiencing difficulties in a relationship because of your caring?

Do you have someone to talk to about the things that stress you and challenge you about your caring role?

The 6th question touches briefly on the financial situation that you're in.

This is so that we can ensure that carers are aware that there are benefits available specific to carers through the government, such as the Carer Payment or the Carer Allowance or even an NDIS program.

And finally, the last area that we explore is to understand if your caring role impacts on your work or if you're not working.

Would you like to return to work?

Often times a carer is looking to go back to work and we'll. ask you questions about whether you're working at the moment.

Do you want to transition from part time to full time or even casual employment?

Does your work actually support your caring role?

Are you interested in getting some training so that you can upskill after you have completed the Carer Star?

We look at how you're tracking in your caring role, and we determine whether there are areas that are a cause for concern, whether you need to get some help, whether you're ready to make changes, whether you're finding what works or whether that particular topic is as good as it can be.

This is a process that can help you identify where you're at in your caring journey.

It's also an opportunity to recognize the great job that you're doing in the caring role. From here, you'll identify an area that you'd like to improve on, or where you feel that you might need a little assistance to make changes.

We then develop goals and shared actions to support you to get the support from any services you need to balance the caring role with your own life.

For example, you might identify that you need to attend medical appointments because you've got pressing concerns, and these specialist appointments have been put off.

We'll seek the approval of a carer directed support package so that you can schedule time out from your caring role to get on top of your health and medical needs.

So what kind of services can carers access through the Carer Gateway?

You've got options such as, emergency respite, carer directed support, peer support, counseling, facilitated coaching, and a young carers program.

The Carer Directed Support is a consumer directed approach to supporting carers in mere caring role.

It gives carers a greater say and more control over the type of support provided to them as well as the persons that they care for.

This can be either a one off practical support, such as assistance with the material goods package like a laptop or a training course which is directly related to their caring role, or a carer directed package which is services such as domestic assistance or respite, transport, personal care or the daily fee for residential respite.

These packages are valid from one year from the date of their approval.

Eligibility for either package is based on an identified need within your caring role, and that need is established based on the chat we had using the Carer Star.

Once your package has been approved, we'll ask you to make a small contribution, and this can be discussed further with your Carer Gateway representative.

Peer support is our online and face to face facilitated support.

It is designed to assist carers to connect with other carriers in similar circumstances, so you can learn from your peers through the sharing of experiences and of course sharing your knowledge for less experienced carers.

There are also regular workshops for you to join, either online or in person to support you with your overall well-being and different aspects of the caring role.

These courses vary and are based on identified needs within carer groups and the feedback that we receive. Some examples of workshops that we've held or are holding our guided relaxation and healing sessions. Self-awareness facilitated reflection sessions, nutrition, health and well-being for carers. Services Australia also provide information and resources to carers to assist them when applying for Centrelink payments such as the Carer Payment, Carer Allowance or covid status and reporting for care recipients. 

We have a yarn up for carers which is a group for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers. We also have an older person advocacy network also known as Open Knowing Your Rights information for older persons and their representatives.

We have workshops for people that are caring for people with dementia or caring for people with a disability, and we also have a workshop on how to make NDIS work for you.

The counseling services are cost free to support you to access short term counseling.

These sessions are specific to carers who are experiencing difficulties with stress, low mood, or have a strain in a relationship which is directly related to the caring role.

Your counseling sessions can assist you with managing your own health, in order to remain effective in the caring role and to avoid crisis events such as carer burnout.

These sessions are a series of three to six 1hour sessions with a professional counselor.

The facilitated coaching is also a cost free service designed to assist you to think about how you're going, what changes you'd like to make, and what steps you can take towards making that happen.

You identify a goal or maybe some goals.

It can be directly related to your caring role, or you may choose a goal outside of your caring role. It's entirely up to you.

A coach will then work with you to guide, support, and empower you to think through your goal and what steps you can take to achieve this.

Your goal will assist you to stay focused, motivated and accountable. And if you need to change that goal, that's also OK.

You will also discuss opportunities for change, to assist you to recognize the barriers which might be hindering you from achieving your plans.

We also have a program tailored to the needs of young carers. This is specific to carers aged 25 years and under.

As you can imagine, young carers often face challenges as they try and balance their caring role with their own educational needs.

The Carer Gateway has programs to support young carers to build their resilience so that they can continue with their education.

Young carers can also access practical supports such as tutoring, driving lessons, laptops, peer support groups, and respite, just to name a few.

So I know I've talked a lot about the services that Carer Gateway already offer.

And have been well established for the past couple of years.

But this podcast that you're listening to today is very new and I'm excited to learn about the topics that you'd like to hear more about that will assist you in your caring role.

If this was helpful for you to listen to, we'd love you to subscribe and to tell your friends about.

In fact, we're launching our very first episode on grief, so if this is something that calls to you, stay online to hear some helpful tips with my first guest.

And I look forward to catching up with you next month. 'Til then take care and be well.


If you are caring for a relative or a friend who has a disability, a mental health condition, a life limiting health or medical condition, or they are frail because they're getting older. Please contact us at Carer Gateway on one 1800 422 737 or look us up on

If you are a carer, you're allowed to take time to look after yourself. You are just as important as the person you take care of.