THE replacement value of the unpaid care provided to people in need within the Australian community is staggering.
In excess of $1billion a week and more than $60billion annually, the care is generally but not exclusively provided by family or loved ones and it is often the difference between a functioning, productive life and one of difficulties in which the state will invariably have to provide what it can.
The testimony of USC researcher Bridie Scott-Parker is an insight into the ways Australians can be debilitated and also how those affected can make worthwhile contributions with support.
Dr Scott-Parker's own will is stupendous in dealing with the crippling impacts of multiple sclerosis while continuing to excite students and guide research into areas that are helping understand young minds.
Her work is not only contributing to adolescent health and well-being but also boosting awareness of the risks young people face behind the steering wheel.
Dr Scott-Parker says while her own family acts as a team to keep her functioning, she also has colleagues willing to assist with physically-based activity which can sap her strength.
There are at least 2.8 million unpaid carers in Australia, of whom 770,000 are the primary carer for an individual.
Females represent 69.7% of primary carers and 56.1% of all voluntary care in Australia.
There are also 74,900 carers aged 15 years and under and a further 231,200 aged between 15 and 24.
They all deserve a nation's thanks.
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