As a Surrey resident working for Age UK, I felt quite confused and conflicted about how to vote in the prospective local referendum on a 15% council tax rise. On one hand, I really wasn’t happy about a huge hike in my bills but on the other hand through my work I am acutely aware of the enormous funding gap that has opened up in recent years between social care budgets and the growing number of people needing care and support. I felt grudgingly supportive of the leader of Surrey Council, David Hodge’s radical stance but not desperately keen on his solution.
Last week marked 2015’s Carers Week- a week dedicated to raising awareness about the vital role carers play in their community, and most importantly, a week dedicated to giving carers a treat.
The week, organised by Age UK and six other supporting organisations, focused this year on ‘building carer-friendly communities’. Each day had a theme of its own, with Older Carers Day falling on Friday 12 June. Carers Week this year fell helpfully within the first month of the new parliament, and only two months after the first round of Care Act regulations protecting carers’ rights were implemented for the first time- a hot topic of conversation throughout the week.
All in all, this year’s Carers Week was the most successful yet. The Parliamentary launch event which you can read about here, saw over 130 MPs meeting carers and finding out what it’s really like to care for a loved one on a daily basis. The Prime Minister, the Rt Hon David Cameron MP, even dropped in to an Older Carers Day Cream Tea in his constituency. He thanked the carers he got to meet, and commented on the importance of their role within Britain’s ageing society. We hope this will be the start of a positive and fruitful relationship with the new parliament as we work to make sure carers get the support they deserve.
Outside the political arena, other advances were made to improve the wellbeing of carers. Often caring can take a huge physical and emotional toll on the carer, so events like Carers Oxfordshire’s ‘Because I’m Worth It’ where older carers developed a wellbeing plan for themselves, are essential. Carers across the country were offered massages, free cakes at local cafes, and opportunities to have a chat with people who understand what it’s like to care. In addition, there were thousands of information and advice events- like Age UK Cheshire East’s information stand in a local Sainsbury’s – which are vital for making sure carers get the information they need to stay well. Keeping a carer well is, of course, linked to keeping the person they care for well, too.
At the final count before the week launched, over 2,200 individuals and organisations had signed up, there were 1,730 pledges of support and thousands of events set to take place around the UK- it seems there is no shortage of care for carers.
This week is Carers Week – a time to celebrate the contribution of the 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK. It is also the moment when several charities, including Age UK, come together to call for better support for carers.
Suzy shares her story of being a carer. In part 1, Suzy explained what it’s like to care for her mother with dementia. Today, she explains about the challenges of getting the support she needs.
The difficulties we face in caring for Mum come when we seek help from outside our home when the services that are offered seem to be one size fits all.
We have been offered respite care. This means Mum going into a local care home. This would mean Mum being away from us in a building she doesn’t know with people she doesn’t know.
Mum would not settle in this environment, I know that. We would also run the risk that Mum would not remember her own home on return from respite care.
This week is Carers Week – a time to celebrate the contribution of the 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK. It’s also the moment when several charities, including Age UK, come together to call for better support for carers.
In the first part of our 2-part blog, Suzy shares her story of what it’s like to be carer.
I am a carer for my Mum who is 67 years old and lives with dementia. Of course I wouldn’t normally describe myself as that; I’m just a daughter who loves her Mum.
I have a wonderful family who care for each other deeply. We all live together in Chepstow: Mum, Dad, my husband, 2 children and I in a multi-generational home.
You know how sometimes you look at your child/niece/nephew/grandchild and have a glimpse of how they are suddenly looking older, more grown up? Sometimes I look at Mum and see her gently moving further away in her dementia. Not every time I see her, just sometimes.
Carers Week 2014 launched last week. Age UK wants to encourage as many people as possible to take part to help carers across the UK. The week itself doesn’t take place until 9-15 June 2014, but the door is now open for those who want to sign up to get involved.
Every year Carers Week is a chance for us to highlight the amazing contribution carers make to our society, whether they’re caring for a sibling, parent, partner, child or friend. There are 6.4 million unpaid carers in the UK and many of these put their own health, work and social lives to one side to care for loved ones.
Many people first come into contact with social care during a health crisis such as a hospital admission, when they and their families are often distressed. The system is very complicated and important decisions are often made very quickly and without proper independent information and advice.