Celebrating carers in the community
When someone needs help with day to day life they often turn to family and friends for support. After all, caring for the people we love is such a natural thing. In the UK there are an estimated 6.5 million unpaid carers who are looking after frail, ill or disabled family members or friends.
These people are called carers. However, in reality they just see themselves as being a good husband, wife, mother, father, son, daughter or friend. Carers can help with many different things ranging from personal care, to helping with day to day tasks such as cooking, cleaning, shopping or helping with money.
My cousin helps care for my Aunty by helping with the cooking, cleaning and day to day tasks that my aunty may not be able to do on that day because of her illness. My cousin doesn’t see herself as a carer for her mum, she is just doing what comes naturally to her, she is taking care of someone she loves.
Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlighting the challenges carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. This year the focus is on Building Carer Friendly Communities. Communities which support carers to look after their loved ones well, while recognising that they are individuals with needs of their own.
What are carer friendly communities?
Carer Friendly Communities are aware of the part played by unpaid carers within their community. They have some understanding of a carer’s daily reality; that they can be under a lot of pressure, and are often hidden from view.
They remove barriers which can make being a carer more challenging. This means that if someone is caring for a person unpaid, local services will remove obstacles and make sure things are done differently; so your life is a little bit easier.
‘Doing things differently’ would include an employer creating Carer Friendly policies by listening to the experiences of their workforce. Or a GP practice offering alternative appointment times to carers unable to attend due to their caring responsibilities.
Carers say they want to live in communities that support them to care well and safely. They want to be respected for the caring role they do and want communities to be more involved.
How can you get involved?
There are many ways in which you can help, a few examples are below. To find out more about carers week 2017 and how you can help get involved click here.
Do you have a carer policy in place? Are you aware of what carers do in your local community? How have you gotten involved this week? Let me know firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to hear from you.