Caring comes in many different forms and each experience is unique. During Carers Week 2019 (10 – 16 June), the theme will focus on ensuring carers can get connected in their local communities.
It is estimated that there are 6.5 million people in the UK who are carers. This can entail looking after a family member or friends who has a disability, long standing condition or illness, mental ill health and/or needs assistance, as they grow older.
Many carers across the UK are doing so off their own back, saving the government millions annually, and often putting their own health at risk.
In some instances, being a carer can be isolating.
However, we all have a role to play in society and within the community. That’s why this year’s Carers Week is ensuring more carers are getting connected.
With a plethora of advice and information on hand, as a carer, getting connected with services is vital. Caring is not linear and each experience is individual – this is an aspect professional services and charities understand.
Learn the different ways your local authority can provide advice or support, this includes asking what financial support you are entitled to. Get connected to your nearest carers charity, local council or voluntary sectors.
Utilising services is imperative for your own health and wellbeing. Many times, carers don’t realise they are in a caring position. It’s natural to want to care for friends and family, but for a carer you must utilise any respite available in your local area – it’s okay to take a break for yourself.
FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Isolation and loneliness is common amongst carers. Take time to discuss your caring responsibilities with friends and family so they can better understand what role you play for your loved one. This encourages discussions and increases understanding.
There is nobody else that will understand your unique position more than another carer. Even a comforting word from someone experiencing the same as you can take a weight off – you are not alone. Carers Week is an opportunity for carers to get connected with their local community, and speak with everyone, especially other carers.
If it is challenging for you to get out as often as you would like then technology can be heaven sent. Support and communication is a click away. Technology can never replace being in the company of others; however, it can assist you in staying connected with the outside world.
Similarly, there are many apps available – generally for free – that can alleviate some stress from your caring roles.
During Carers Week 2019 take the time to get connected and speak out about your caring roles. For those who are not carers, take this Carers Week to better understand what life is like for a carer. You might be surprised to learn you already know a carer.