Posted:11th June 2018
Carers’ Week comes round once a year – in 2018 it runs from 11th – 17th June. It’s a great opportunity for events to celebrate and support carers across the UK and to raise awareness about the work they do. It’s much needed because often the role of carers slips under the radar, their contribution may not be recognised and they don’t always receive the support they need. Many people in the UK are undertaking the role of a carer and don’t even recognise that themselves!
The Care Act definition of a carer is really broad: “an adult who provides or intends to provide care for another adult (who needs care)”. There are lots of us who fall into that category, either for the long-term or temporarily and do not realise it.
Carers include those looking after a partner with a long-term condition, looking after our parents if they begin to have difficulties due to the onset of a cognitive condition, particularly when they lose capacity to make decisions for themselves and they become vulnerable, taking care of a friend or family member, due to physical and mental health conditions. It can happen to anyone and it can creep up. According to Carers UK there are currently 6.5 million – that’s 1 in 8 adults.
It’s natural to care for a loved one and many of us wouldn’t think of asking for anything in return. However, it can bring its own stresses and, without support, can take its emotional, physical and financial toll on the carer. It’s important for the carer to ensure there’s time to look after themselves as well. Carers Allowance is a benefit available to those who spend more than 35 hours per week caring for another adult. Local authorities are obliged to conduct carers assessments if requested and to arrange to meet needs arising out of a caring role. This includes need for support in support for your own mental and physical wellbeing, respite services etc. There are carers organisations available who offer support groups, advice and advocacy. Sometimes it can really help to speak to someone who has been in the same situation and know you’re not alone.
Caring for a loved one can be really rewarding but it can be a difficult task too. It’s important to know what support is out there. Get in touch with a carers organisation if you need assistance and check out the events going on across the country.