Carers Week aims to raise awareness of the challenges and rewards that carers experience every day.
According to the nationwide awareness campaign, three in four carers feel undervalued and misunderstood by their community which is why this year the charity’s focus is on building Carer Friendly Communities by inviting organisations to commit to becoming carer friendly as well as asking people to recommend services, groups and employers who are already carer friendly.
Launched by a number of major charities on 1st March in Wales, alongside Vaughan Gething AM, Welsh Deputy Minister for Health, said: “Caring is characterised by selflessness, determination and resilience which can often be at the expense of a carer’s own aspirations, wellbeing and quality of life. In these challenging times we must all ensure that carers across the UK are neither taken for granted, nor forgotten.”
Carers Week states that 3 in 5 of us will be carers in our lifetime and as our population ages and people live longer, more and more of us will be called upon to care for an older, disabled or seriously ill loved one. The amount and type of care needed for each individual varies considerably. Caring can involve any form of support for any length of time. From helping around the house or going to the shops or pharmacy following an accident, assisting with personal hygiene and dressing, to looking after loved ones for health reasons such as dementia, a long term illness or a disability.
According to the Carers Week Research Report, over 2 million people take on new caring responsibilities every year and there are almost 1.3 million people aged 65 and older who are carers. Although caring is done out of compassion and love, unfortunately many carers can find it hard to find the time for friendships, whilst their wellbeing, financial situation and personal health can also be affected.
Due to an ageing population and lack of state support, recently we have also seen reports of how there are an estimated 417,000 carers who are in their 80s or older that are relied on as unpaid care support to family or friends. Furthermore, over 50 percent of these carers give more than 35 hours each week, leaving them exhausted and worrying about their own futures.
In addition to the work Carers Week does and the help available for carers from the government, there are a number of charities who specifically support older carers locally and nationally, such as Age UK, Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, SharedLivesPlus in Scotland and Camden Carers Service.
However, if you would like to share your own opinion on the support available from the governments’ benefits system, NHS and social services then until the end of June 2016, the Department of Health is offering members of the public the opportunity to submit their own views on how the government can improve support for carers:
Many of our customers live in their own home where they care for their loved one, and with our lifeline units, smoke alarms, heat sensors, flood detectors and other recommended telecare equipment items, they are empowered to remain in their own home and are able to live with greater peace of mind.
Find out more by calling our friendly team on 0300 333 6511.
About Carer’s Week
This annual campaign is supported by a range of national charity organisations including MNDA, Independent Age, Carerstrust and carersuk, and was created to highlight the challenges carer’s face, whilst raising awareness of caring and recognising the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. This year, the focus is on building Carer Friendly Communities in order to support carers look after their family or friends well, while recognising that they are individuals with needs of their own. To pledge your support, organise a fundraising event and to find out more, please visit www.carersweek.org.