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Supporting Carers Week

 

Carers Week runs from 9-15 June 2014 with the aim of raising awareness and helping improve the lives of carers and the people they care for.

The 20th annual Carers Week takes place from Monday 9th June to Sunday 15th June 2014 and aims to raise awareness about the lives of UK carers and those they care for. Supported by some of the UK’s biggest charities, the campaign is designed to raise the profile of carers and highlight the importance of what is often a tough and at times thankless job. Read on for more information on carers, their responsibilities and the goals of the Carers Week campaign.

 

What does it mean to be a carer?

The UK is home to an estimated 6.5 million carers, all of whom go out of their way to care for friends or family members in need of support. The level of help required can range from assistance to go shopping or with cleaning the house, to help getting dressed in the morning, cooking or going to the bathroom. Whether it’s for a couple of hours a day or a case of being on hand 24/7, these millions of unpaid carers play a vital role in communities up and down the country. Carers Week is all about raising awareness of what is quite often a highly demanding job carried out by millions of committed, hardworking and selfless carers around the UK every day of the week.

Most people care for someone at some stage during their life, often just for a brief period of time, such as assisting someone who is recovering from a minor operation or who has simply come down with a nasty bout of flu. Many, however, suffer from long-term issues such as illness, disability or simply an inability to take care of themselves due to old age. Carers can find the responsibility of looking after a loved one extremely demanding, as many often combine their caring duties with full-time jobs or studies. Although looking after someone you hold dear can be rewarding in many ways, it can also have a detrimental impact on the physical and emotional wellbeing of carers.

According to Carers Week Quest, 45 per cent of UK carers have given up work because of their caring duties. Needless to say, this will have a considerable impact on their income, which in turn can lead to stress. By raising nationwide awareness about the role carers play, however, it is hoped that more help and support can be provided in order to improve their situation.

 

Responsibilities of a carer

Although some people in need of additional support benefit from round-the-clock professional care, such as the homes provided by Bupa Care, millions must rely on the assistance of friends and family.

Every day, nearly 6,000 people take on a new caring role in the UK. Regardless of whether they tend to a person for just a half hour each day, or provide 24/7 support, they may have to take on some or all of the following responsibilities:

  • Cleaning
  • Cooking
  • Laundry
  • Shopping
  • Administering medication
  • Assisting with bathroom visits
  • Managing bill payments and financial decisions
  • Dressing people and preparing them for bed
  • Taking them to and from appointments
  • General home maintenance/repairs

 

Carers Week: Raising the profile of carers across the UK

Between Monday 9th and Sunday15th June 2014, the Carers Week campaign will host over 12,000 events and activities across the UK. These range from basic information sessions to sponsored walks, tea parties and roadshows. Aided by the support of some of the UK’s leading charities and thousands of other prominent organisations, Carers Week aims to grab the attention of national and local media outlets with a view to highlighting the crucial role carers play in society.

One key goal of the campaign is to help those caring for friends or family to actually recognise themselves as carers. One in eight UK residents currently tend to an ill or disabled friend or family member, but many fail to identify themselves as carers. Eight out of ten carers surveyed in the Prepared to Care report were not aware of the support available to them, due to them not recognising themselves as carers. Registering as a carer, however, enables people to access a range of help and support services which greatly benefit both carers and patients.

The Prepared to Care report sheds light on how the demands of the job can impact the life of a carer. Of the 2,000 carers surveyed, six in ten have seen a reduction in income due to their commitment to caring for a loved one, while 92 per cent admitted to feeling more stressed as a result of their role.

Insights such as these serve to highlight the importance of the Carers Week campaign and can help provide a better platform for future carers to work from. Carers currently save the UK economy an estimated £119 billion every year, with a further 2.5 million carers expected to come on board by 2037.

Greater recognition of the crucial job carers undertake, however, can help improve support for carers and subsequently enable them to deliver a high standard of care to their patients.

 

How to get involved

There are a variety of ways in which to help carers throughout the year, as well as during Carers Week. Visit http://www.carersweek.org/get-involved for ideas on how to raise awareness in your community. Alternatively you can call Carers Week Quest on 020 7378 4955 to discuss how to get involved.


Sources

 



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