Tasmanian carers are having to cancel in-home supports, postpone medical appointments, have restricted respite and are facing difficulties in sourcing essential items as the far-reaching consequences of coronavirus isolation measures take their toll.
Those receiving the Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension and Age Pension have also missed out on the increase afforded to other recipients of government payments, despite stimulus legislation giving the minister the power to increase these payments.
Tasmania has more than 85,000 unpaid carers, 32 per cent of whom have a disability themselves, with 22 per cent over the age of 65.
Launceston man David Morell, who is legally blind, is the carer for his wife Carol who suffered a stroke in 2010 and a heart attack in 2013.
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He said every facet of life had changed.
"COVID-19 has totally changed the way I live my life and provide care for my wife," Mr Morell said.
"It's the small things that you take for [granted] like going into stores and attending appointments that make a difference. We've gone into full isolation as a precaution for Carol's health, and a lack of protective equipment has forced us to forego outside appointments."
Carers Tasmania surveyed 800 carers who also participate in the workforce, finding that 46 per cent had experienced a change in their employment status because of coronavirus restrictions. Of those, 17 per cent had lost their job, 47 per cent had lost hours and 36 per cent had been temporarily stood down.
Carers Tasmania chief executive David Brennan said they were feeling the effects.
"What we are finding is increasing numbers of carers, especially aged carers or those caring for each other to self-isolate entirely, which includes cancelling their regularly scheduled in-home supports," he said.
"As well as in-home cancellations, disturbingly carers are also postponing essential medical appointments for both them and their care recipient.
"The introduction of Telehealth consultations has been a positive introduction for those individuals deciding to self-isolate.
"We're also learning that carers that have isolated themselves are finding it difficult to purchase essential items to fulfill their role, including protective equipment such as hand sanitisers and masks."
On Tuesday, Carers Tasmania joined calls for the $550 ongoing Coronavirus Supplement to be extended to the Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension and Age Pension.
The government did not respond to a request for comment by deadline. Last week, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told the Senate that they would be eligible for the two $750 lump-sum stimulus payments.