Caring Connections: Exploring Support Groups for Carers

In recent years, ‘carer support groups near me’ has become an increasingly popular online search. That’s not a surprise when you consider there are nearly three million unpaid carers in Australia—11% of the population—and many of them feel stressed, stretched thin, or completely burnt out altogether.

Though caregiving can certainly take a toll, there is a growing number of resources and support services already in place to help Australians who’ve taken on caring roles. Some are organised by the Department of Health; others are maintained by people in the community who understand how critical carer support services have become.

It’s an unfortunate truth that many carers in Australia don’t address their own care needs until they’re facing a health crisis of their own. Many unpaid carers feel obligated to continually give more, even when it comes at the expense of their own physical, emotional and mental health.

Carer support groups and other local services around the country are trying to shift that harmful dynamic. Below, you’ll find a non-exhaustive list of carer support offerings for some of the most common circumstances; some are in-person gatherings, while others are strictly online services that exist to lighten the caregiving load. It’s also worth noting that many peer support groups in Australia occur at a local level, so check your own state, city, town or suburb for support services near you if they aren’t mentioned below.


Carer Gateway

The Carer Gateway service is a government program that provides free services and support. It is designed to help people who have stepped into caring roles for their elders or loved ones with disabilities, medical conditions or mental illness.

The Australian Government partners with service providers and health professionals across the country to support carers no matter where they live. Every region has a Carer Gateway service provider who can either deliver support directly or organise support through affiliated organisations.

When you call Carer Gateway (1800 422 737), you’ll speak with a local service provider who can explain what support and services are available in your area. In addition to emergency respite care, tailored support packages, and other helpful offerings, Carer Gateway supports carers with:

Additionally, the Carer Gateway Counselling Service is a free service available from 8 am to 6 pm on weekdays. When you call, you can speak with professional counsellors about your caregiving role and how you feel about it.


Additional Resources (General)

  • Carers Australia is the peak body advocacy organisation for unpaid carers. They influence policies on a national level while providing local support services across the country through their location-specific affiliated branches: Carers QLD, Carers SA, Carers NSW, Carers TAS, Carers WA, Carers VIC, and Carers NT.
  • The CarerHelp Project is a government-funded effort providing information and resources to empower carers looking after someone who is seriously ill or at the end of their life.
  • Gather My Crew is an Australian charity with an app that enables unpaid carers to round up assistance and coordinate caregiving tasks with others. The app can help carers tap into their network and local communities when they face a big challenge.
  • For financial support and advice, My Aged Care is a reliable resource for carers.
  • Facebook groups are very popular in the caregiving community. There are many social media groups out there, but here are a few prominent options for carers and support workers:


Dementia Carer Support Groups

Where to start: Dementia Australia dedicates a large portion of its website to family members and carers of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

How to get support: Call the National Dementia Helpline on free call 1800 100 500 or fill out the online service enquiry form to find a dementia carer support group near you.

Additional services: Dementia Australia also regularly runs education programs specifically for carers and families. Click here to browse and register for upcoming sessions.

Alternative support options: The Dementia Downunder forum (and corresponding Facebook group) is a gathering place for dementia carers to share stories, strategies and information.

Facebook group: Dementia Support Australia Group


Cancer Carer Support Groups

Where to start: Cancer Council

How to get support: Visit the Cancer Council support groups page and find a group in your area or call 13 11 20 for assistance.

Additional services: Cancer Council also offers professional support through Cancer Connect, a free and confidential telephone peer support service operated by specially trained volunteers who have endured their own cancer experiences. You can also utilise the online community and its virtual support groups, blogs and discussion forums specifically for cancer carers.

Alternative support options: Though not an Australian-based organisation, the American Cancer Society has been a leader in the global fight against cancer for more than a century. They’ve got many online resources, including a carer support video series, carer resource guides and online communities. Cancer Australia, meanwhile, maintains an organised list of support and advocacy groups, many of which offer state- and territory-based special interest groups on their websites.


Parkinson’s Carer Support Groups

Where to start: Parkinson’s Australia

How to get support: Ring the Parkinson’s Info Line on 1800 644 189 to learn about Parkinson’s carer support groups near you.

Additional services: Fight Parkinson’s—which is the operating name of Parkinson’s Victoria—offers peer support groups. Contact the Fight Parkinson’s office by calling 03 8809 0400 or emailing to find out about groups near you.

Alternative support options: Other localised options for carer support include Parkinson’s Queensland and Parkinson’s NSW. The Shake It Up Foundation also has resources for Parkinson’s carers, including online support groups available through the Michael J. Fox Foundation website.

Facebook group: Parkinson’s Support and Chat


Stroke Carer Support Groups

Where to start: Stroke Foundation

How to get support: Stroke associations are located in specific states around Australia, and you can contact your local branch for more information about support groups and resources. Beyond that, you can also learn about support groups by contacting StrokeLine at 1800 787 653 or by emailing for details.

Additional services: Owned and managed by Stroke Foundation, EnableMe is another reliable resource for stroke carers. Visit their community resources to read blogs, join forums, and ask health care professionals questions. The EnableMe website also has an extensive directory of support groups for stroke carers.

Alternative support options: Stroke NSW organises Carer Afternoon Tea sessions for carers looking to meet online. If you’re searching for support for aphasia, visit the Aphasia Association website or the Aphasia Community.

Facebook group: Stroke Caregivers Support Group


Young Carer Support Groups

Where to start: Young Carers Network

How to get support: Powered by Carers Australia, Young Carers Network assists the more than 235,000 young carers across Australia with support services based on state and territory. Young Carer Connect Events, for instance, provide young carers with safe, supportive online hangout spaces to connect and share their experiences.

In addition to Carers Australia and Young Carers Network affiliates, here are some other organisations specifically for young people:

Visit Carer Gateway’s ‘Looking After Yourself’ page for additional resources.


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