As the week got underway, Minister for Ageing and Disability Services John Ajaka announced Mrs Sheila Openshaw as the recipient of the NSW Carer of the Year Award for her dedication to care for her two sons, who both live with mental illness.
Mrs Openshaw said she was a passionate carer, and dedicated to working with the community to increase public awareness about mental illness.
“Caring for my two sons has been challenging during the past 22 years, it has made me more compassionate, understanding and wise.”
Carers can be anyone including parents, partners, brothers, sisters, friends, sons or daughters. They provide unpaid support to those who need it because of a disability, mental illness, chronic health condition, dementia or ageing.
Mr Ajaka said there were more than 857,000 carers in NSW, including over 100,000 under the age of 25. Across Australia this year it would cost $60.3 billion to replace the care provided by carers with formal services.
While thanking Mrs Openshaw for her extraordinary role in the community, Mr Ajaka said that without carers many people would not be able to enjoy independence and participate fully in their communities.
The 2015 Carers Awards will recognise 65 carers and organisations.