There are 6.5 million people in the UK providing unpaid care for sick, older or disabled relatives or friends and each day 6,000 people in the UK take on new caring responsibilities. Without the huge contribution of unpaid carers, our already beleaguered health and social care system would grind to a halt.
Sadly, a large majority of carers are let down when it comes to receiving sufficient help and support when they most need it. In April this year, Carers UK surveyed the public and found that a staggering 74% of those polled felt that carers were undervalued.
Next week (12-18 June) is Carers Week – an annual event where Age UK joins with other charities, including Macmillan, Independent Age, Which Elderly Care, MS Society and others to highlight and celebrate the crucial role played by unpaid carers. This Carers Week we’re focussing on building Carer Friendly Communities, making people aware of the local support available and encouraging all parts of the community to think about carers and to support them.
Many local Age UKs will be hosting events for carers in their area but we can all play an active role by helping carers understand about the services on offer to them nationally and locally. Maybe you could go along to a local event during Carers Week and support those in your neighbourhood who provide care?
Let’s make Carers Week 2017 the most successful yet, pointing more carers than ever in the direction of the support they need. Age UK have a range of free information and advice guides available online http://www.ageuk.org.uk/publications, as well as a free-phone national helpline which can be reached on 0800 169 65 65.
For more information about Carers Week and Carer Friendly Communities, you can access the Carers Week website: http://www.carersweek.org.