We ask a lot of our carers, and not just the hours and physical acts of service they do, either.
Caring for a friend or family member can be emotionally draining, isolating and frustrating, and there is no doubt it challenges relationships at times.
So a week like this one, National Carers Week, is so important: it's about thanking our carers for what they do - often unseen, unpaid and unrecognised.
There are reportedly more than 2.7 million people in Australia who care for a family member or friend.
They give 36 million hours - every week - to a loved one who has a disability, mental illness, drug and/or alcohol dependency, chronic condition or terminal illness, or who is frail and/or elderly. That unpaid care they provide is worth about $1.1 billion per week.
Without them? We shudder to think.
But caring for another person - with all the reliance, intimacy and exertion that can bring - can be overwhelming at times.
Many carers are, themselves, elderly or disabled. Many are challenged by the rigmarole of finding, applying for and accessing services when and where - and at the price - they need them.
And even if all that falls into place, many carers have been in their trusted role almost 24/7 for decades, and find it difficult to "hand over" an aspect of the care of their partner or child to a relative stranger.
Carers often have their relationships break down, their careers limited or lost, and their mental health deteriorate.
But local carers say that, of all the challenges they face, some of the biggest are a lack of respite, and isolation. However much reward and pride their role may bring, everyone needs a break, to step away some time. Our carers need to be cared for, too.
While government and private services undoubtedly have a responsibility to try to ease a carer's burden, perhaps there's something we can all do. If you know a carer, why not check in with them more often? Or provide some form of help, such as yard care, shopping or even an hour of two of your time so they can rest? It could make a bigger difference than you think.
- Carolyn Millet is an ACM journalist