There is an army of carers in the UK, largely unsung heroes who give their time and energy to looking after the most vulnerable in society. While some are employed in healthcare or are nurses, many others provide unpaid care to partners, parents, children or friends.
In fact, it’s estimated that around 6.5 million of us in the UK are providing care in one form or another. That number is set to increase over the next decade or so as we face a growing, ageing population that requires individual, long-term support when it comes to personal and social care.
What is Carers Week?
Carers Week 2019 takes place between 10th and 16th June this year and is all about highlighting the great work that these individuals do. A carer is someone who delivers unpaid care for a loved one such as a partner or family member or even a friend.
Events are organised across the UK to celebrate Carers Week, generally with a set theme for the year. In 2018, that theme was the health and wellbeing of carers, something that is so often neglected.
While caring can be a rewarding experience, it can also have a huge impact on health and wellbeing. Carers work long hours, trying to juggle their own careers with looking after someone else, sometimes with very little support from the outside world. According to the Carers Week website, 61% of carers said they had suffered with their own health problems because of caring for someone.
Why Are Carers So Important?
A nurse or healthcare professional can deliver specific services for an individual, but it’s generally a band of carers that carry the full burden of looking after someone.
Providing full-time care can include not only practical and emotional support, it can involve administering medicines, looking after finances, providing personal care as well as giving physical help.
- According to CarersUK, a further 6,000 people each day take on the role of a carer.
- If you provide care for someone, you are able to access Carer’s Allowance which is currently £64.60 for a 35 hour week – that makes it the lowest benefit in existence in the UK.
- Many carers try to juggle work and their caring responsibilities and some find it almost impossible. 1 in 5 will give up work to care for someone else.
While unpaid carers provide a valuable service, saving the economy around £60 billion a year, they are often isolated and receive little help from the outside world. The number of people actually providing care to loved ones is also increasing, mainly due to a growing and ageing population. Women are more likely to act as carers (59%) and it’s thought that, by 2037, nearly 9 million people will be acting as carers in some capacity.
Get Involved in Carers Week 2019
There are lots of different ways that you can get involved during this week and help support and highlight the work of carers in your local area. You can put up posters in your workplace, take part on social media using the hashtag #CarersWeek or get involved in events organised in the community.
Find out more about how you can get involved in carers week here.
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