WENDY Brown knows only too well the difficulties carers across Australia face on a daily basis.
The Karabar grandmother has been a full-time carer for her parents and helps her type one diabetic daughter to raise her three children, all of who have mild intellectual disabilities.
It's a work load that gives the phrase 'daily grind' new meaning, and like all full-time carers, Ms Brown's responsibilities don't end at 5pm, and nor does she get weekends off.
While she loves caring for her family, the endless workload and lack of assistance can be frustrating at times.
"There's no rules or guidelines for looking after a person with a disability. It makes me angry sometimes that there's people like me out there who are crying out for help and they can't get it," she said.
"We're not trained carers. The government has to understand that being a carer is a full-time job. They don't realise what it is.
"At the end of the day, most people can go home from their work and have a sleep and watch television or whatever, but people looking after children with disabilities can't sleep, because these kids don't know how to sleep. You might get an hour or two hours a night [sleep] if you're lucky," she said.
Ms Brown is one of around 850,000 carers across the state who give an estimated 1.32 billion hours of care nationally per year.
A 2010 Access Economics report estimated they save the Australian economy more than $40 billion a year in free care.
Ms Brown received some well-deserved recognition for her caring when local disability support staff nominated her for the NSW Carer of the Year Award, awarded as part of National Carers' Week (October 14-20).
The NSW Department of Family and Community Services flew Ms Brown and her son Shane to Sydney for a glamorous evening at Parliament House, where she was awarded a Highly Commended award from NSW Minister for Ageing and Disability Services, Andrew Constance.
"I was very honoured," Ms Brown said.
"It was the first time on a plane for me and my son. It was scary. They paid for everything which was absolutely amazing. It was a once in a lifetime experience, and I'm putting that down in my scrapbook.
"I can't stress how proud I am that ageing and disabilities [staff] at City Council believed in me so much to nominate me," she said.
However, she said carers around the nation still need more support and assistance for their unpaid caring work.
"There's still not enough support out there for people like me. There's not a lot of people who can speak up for us," she said.
"It gets very hectic. Sometimes you laugh, sometimes you cry. But you get so tired, so frustrated and so annoyed at times, but you've got to keep doing it. Because if you stop, what's going to happen to the kids? If all the carers stopped caring- and there's a lot of us out there- where would we be?
"We do love what we do. I get a reward when I can see a child can write a name or can say 'I can catch that bus now.' Little things like that that we take for granted every day," Ms Brown said.