Recognising Carers: Do you see me?

A carer is someone like me who cares for a family member, partner, child, friend or neighbour who due to physical or mental illness, disability, age-related difficulties or an addiction cannot cope without your support.

Anyone can become a carer and they come from all walks of life, all cultures and can be of any age. Things happen that are out of our control, that’s why it’s important in recognising carers.

  • You might be a carer and still be working in employment.
  • You might be a carer that has had to give up education or employment.
  • You might be a pensioner carer taking care of your partner.
  • You might be doing multiple caring roles like caring for your children as well as your partner or elderly parent.
  • You might even be a child, a young carer, looking after a parent, sibling or grandparent.
  • You might take on a caring role permanently or on a temporary basis, or care for someone you don’t live with.

We can play so many roles, that’s why it’s important in recognising carers! Where would we be without carers stepping up?

Real Carers Week

Carer’s week is where we get lots of attention, have coffee mornings, get free complimentary therapies, have information events and are told we’re indispensable!

I’m sure the support groups and discussion tables can help some carers and bring carers together at community events. It doesn’t reflect our reality. I’m still struggling like many others.

For one week organisations join together to raise our carer’s voices but what happens after?

So far, not a lot has changed in the last 10 years I’ve been caring, and it’s disheartening. Each year we get pledges to change things, this year we saw a win with the Carer’s Leave bill being passed, but it was gutted from its original concept of PAID carer’s leave.

Have I missed anything that you thought was a worthwhile change for carers? Let me know!

Recognising Carers!

  • Recognition and respect for the work we do. Respect that I have the knowledge that can help & support our loved ones. Consult and involve me – don’t dismiss my input. Get us involved in local or national decision-making processes on policy or services for carers– have a carer’s representative on all your committees when designing policy.  Let us have a voice!

Provide Carers with a Basic Living Wage!

  • Many carers have had to work part-time or give up work entirely to care for loved ones, saving the economy billions.
  • We may also have had to use up our savings or go into debt because the benefits provided are not enough to live on. 
  • It can’t make up for the loss of earnings, savings lost or the potential to save for the future so being paid a living wage can improve our day-to-day lives, and give us more opportunities to invest time in ourselves.
  • A basic living wage would allow us to save for a meaningful pension instead of relying on the meagre state pension.
  • We get a Carer’s Allowance of £76.75 for a minimum of 35 hrs of care per week that’s £2.19 per hour – would you choose that, especially as we all know that in reality, we do many more hours than that?

Support Carers to Return to Work, Employment or Training!

  • Support us by not limiting the hours we can work or train when claiming benefits.
  • Help employers to improve on flexible working arrangements so we can balance our caring role. We have more flexibility for childcare, the same should be applied for other caring roles. Yes, it’s great news to see that carer’s leave has finally passed in parliament but it needs to be paid! No one can afford to just take time off work without an income! It’s a first step, now let’s get it paid!

Help Protect Carers Emotional, Physical & Mental Health!

  • We need access to care packages with care workers that can support us and our loved ones without costing the earth especially if we are reliant on other benefits to make ends meet
  • We need respite care. Each council offers varying amounts or nothing at all, we need consistency on a minimum requirement (day & night) and breaks for more than a few hours to recuperate to support carers.
  • We need health and safety training on supporting individuals with complex health/social care issues.  We’re only asking for what you would provide your employees, they don’t get sent out to work without some form of training on the physical or mental impacts. 
  • We need counselling services, and regular health and well-being checks with local GPs, these should be standard for all carers so we don’t fall through the cracks.

Give Carers Information & Support That Is Accessible At The Right Time!

  • There are too many sources of information or you find out way too late of support services, benefits or respite options that are available to you.  A one-stop shop would reduce confusion, and duplication of efforts and allow us to become better advocates for our loved ones.
  • It could be all the things that are central to carers that then refer out into the special area of your care like dementia, autism, disability, cancer etc

Respect the vital role we provide and stop marginalizing us, treat us with dignity and compassion, and see us for the value we bring to society at huge personal sacrifice and cost to ourselves. 

Things need to change in recognising carers – Do you see me now?

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