Carers Week runs until Sunday 13 June 2021 and this year’s theme is to ‘Make Caring Visible and Valued.’
Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. It also helps people who don't think of themselves as having caring responsibilities to identify as carers and access much-needed support.
The campaign is brought to life by thousands of individuals and organisations who come together to provide support for carers, run activities and highlight the vital role carers play in our communities, drawing attention to just how important caring is.
There are five main Carers Organisations in Cumbria. They are: Eden Carers, West Cumbria Carers, Carlisle Carers, Furness Carers, South Lakeland Carers.
This year, people across the country are continuing to face new challenges as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Many people are taking on more caring responsibilities for their relatives and friends who are disabled, ill or older and who need support.
They need to be recognised for the difficulties they are experiencing, respected for all they are doing, and provided with information, support and understanding.
There are 6.5 million people in the UK who are carers. They are looking after a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness or who needs extra help as they grow older.
The impact of caring on all aspects of life from relationships and health to finances and work should not be underestimated, and carers are facing even more difficult circumstances this year.
While many feel that caring is one of the most important things they do, its challenges should not be underestimated. Caring without the right information and support can be tough.
It is vitally important that we recognise the contribution carers make to their families and local communities, workplaces and society, and that they get the support they need.
It’s thought 10 per cent of the UK’s population are unpaid carers – someone who is looking after a relative or friend who, due to a disability, illness or old age, cannot manage at home without their help. This is a huge number and it is a huge responsibility.
Carers organisations across Cumbria support people across the county from as young as five-years-old. It’s thought that nationally unpaid carers save the UK economy £132 billion a year.
They are absolutely vital.
Dani Leslie, Chief Officer at Eden Carers, said: “Every year we urge the people we support to write a Carers’ Emergency Plan. That’s all the information that would be needed if the carer becomes acutely ill / has an accident or has to go into hospital at short notice.
“It is really useful to have all the key information in place and you can contact us to help you with it.
“Or you can chat to the Carer and Cared For You support and write a helpful list of information that can be kept in a place that is easily accessible in an emergency.”
The sort of information that is helpful includes things like:
- a full list of medication details of any ongoing treatment they need / allergies
- details of their GP and pharmacy
- any care and support services they receive
- any continence products needed and who supplies them
- any mobility challenges and mobility aids such as a wheelchair or hoist
- anything behavioural that others need to be aware of
- contact details for anyone they would like to be notified if they have to go into hospital, friends, family or professionals,
- who would look after a pet at short notice. This will help everyone if things deteriorate quickly.
Dani added: “We currently support around 800 unpaid carers, 170 of which are young carers aged between five and 18 years.
“We are one of five independent charitable, geographically based, carers organisations in Cumbria providing free advice and support to unpaid carers.
“We’re really keen for people to take the time to create their own emergency plan – but we are also here to provide carers assessments; benefit application form filling and signposting to other agencies. We also offer activities to help provide carers support, respite from their caring role, information and advice.
“One of the most important roles we have is helping unpaid carers navigate the labyrinth of social care, NHS, benefits and legal advice in which they can suddenly and unexpectedly find themselves. We work very closely with our partners in social care and the NHS, ensuring carers and the cared for, receive the best possible outcomes.”
There are five main Carers Organisations in Cumbria. They are: Eden Carers, West Cumbria Carers, Carlisle Carers, Furness Carers, South Lakeland Carers. To contact them call 08443 843230 or leave a message and they will call you back. See: https://www.carerssupportcumbria.co.uk/