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Many primary carers of people with disability due to arthritis
and osteoporosis are older Australians who themselves need
assistance and whose caring duties were often making their problems
worse, according to a report released today by the Australian
Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
'As Australia's population ages, the number of people with
profound or severe disability from arthritis and osteoporosis is
projected to rise and the ageing of the primary carers is likely to
become a major issue,' said Dr Naila Rahman of the AIHW's National
Centre for Monitoring Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Conditions.
In 2003, about 50,000 Australians received help from primary
carers because of a severe or profound disability caused mainly by
arthritis or osteoporosis.
The report, Primary carers of people with arthritis and
osteoporosis, shows that over 40% of these carers were 65 years or
older and 70% had physical problems and limitations of their own,
which were sometimes exacerbated by the care giving process.
'We found that often the carers themselves needed assistance
with daily activities, such as self-care, housework, and transport
and mobility,' Dr Rahman said.
'They also have unmet needs for respite care.'
'Primary carers of people with disability due to arthritis and
osteoporosis often see their caring role as a mark of their
relationship with the care receiver and many reduce work hours or
leave the paid workforce to meet their caring responsibilities,' Dr
'In general, women assume the role of a primary carer more often
than men. However this pattern is reversed among carers of people
with arthritis, with men making up about 55% of primary
'One reason for this reversal is that osteoarthritis and
rheumatoid arthritis are both more common in women than in men,
particularly among older age groups,' Dr Rahman said.
Friday 21 May 2010
Further information: Dr Naila Rahman, AIHW,
tel. (02) 6244 1057, mob. 0403 336 293.
For media copies of the report: Publications
Officer, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1032.
Primary carers of people with arthritis and
(Report summary) (Full