Next week is Carers Week

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. Continue reading “Next week is Carers Week”

Caring for life

Maxine and Joan (left) speaking to Maria Miller MP at the Carers Week parliamentary reception
Maxine and Joan (left) speaking to Maria Miller MP at the Carers Week parliamentary reception

This blog was contributed by Hannah Pearce, Age UK’s joint Head of Public Affairs.

Listening to one of my favourite radio programmes, R4’s Soul Music recently, I was very moved to hear one of the participants Ray taking about his life with his wife Sylvia and the importance of music to their lives. They had married in 1953 and celebrated their Diamond Wedding anniversary in 2013 shortly before her death last year. Ray explained that Sylvia had had dementia in her final years and that life had been difficult but that he had promised when they married that ‘for as long as I could breathe I would look after her.’ It was a small glimpse into the private lives of others and a reminder of the 1000s of people in their 80’s dedicating their lives to caring for loved ones across the country. Continue reading “Caring for life”

Guest blog – Our society is ageing, and so are our carers

Jenny And James - Age Uk Case Study by Sam Mellish

This week we have a guest post from Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, that highlights the key findings of a new report on caring in later life. 

While caring is something that touches all of us at some point in our lives, new research published today by Carers UK and Age UK reveals that it is the older generation who are increasingly stepping up to provide care for loved ones. The figures in our new report ‘Caring into later life’ are stark – showing a 35% rise in those caring aged 65+ in England, while the number of carers aged 85 and older in England has more than doubled in the last ten years. Continue reading “Guest blog – Our society is ageing, and so are our carers”

Carers Week: Suzy’s story (part 2)

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.

Continue reading “Carers Week: Suzy’s story (part 2)”

Carers Week: Suzy’s story (part 1)

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.

Continue reading “Carers Week: Suzy’s story (part 1)”

Sign up to take part in Carers Week 2014

Staff from charities taking part in Carers WeekCarers 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.

Continue reading “Sign up to take part in Carers Week 2014”

It’s Carers Week 2013!

After months of planning, Carers Week 2013 is here. It starts today (Monday 10 June) and takes place until Sunday 16 June.

Jenny And James - Age Uk Case Study by Sam MellishEvery day at least 6,000 people start caring. Becoming a carer can impact significantly on a person’s life – it takes time, energy, can leave you isolated and can be costly. Leslie is 84 and looks after his wife Frances, he spoke to us about the impact being a carer has had on his life and his advice for others.
Listen to his story.

Carers Week is run by a coalition of charities, including Age UK, Carers Trust, Carers UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, MS Society and Parkinson’s UK,  who all believe that informal carers should get more support and recognition for the incredibly difficult job that they do day in and day out. Continue reading “It’s Carers Week 2013!”