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Carer’s Week: helping unpaid carers stay healthy and connected
By Paul Parlby, chief executive of Crossroads Together
Through this week we’ve joined members of the care industry across the UK to celebrate Carers Week. It’s a chance for us to say thank you to the 6.5 million unpaid carers who work so hard to keep our nation’s health and care system afloat.
New research released by Carers UK earlier this week revealed that almost three quarters (72%) of carers in the UK said they had suffered mental ill health as a result of caring, while well over half (61%) said their physical health had worsened.*
It’s a trend we’re determined to help reverse. Carers need to be given access to the support they need to help them stay healthy and connected if they are to continue providing invaluable support to those who rely on them.
Carers need caring for too
We know that all too often caring for a loved one can feel like an overwhelming experience. Finding the time to eat healthily, get enough rest or take time out to enjoy hobbies or meet friends can at times feel impossible, but these things are all essential for carers to continue to deliver the highest standard of care.
With three in five people in the UK expected to take on a caring role at some point in their lifetime, you are not alone. That’s why the focus of this week’s Carers Week is on finding the support to stay healthy and connected.
What support is available?
In the first instance, I would always recommend that carers get in touch with their local carer centre. There’s a brilliant interactive list available through the Carers Trust here.
From information about benefits and access to training to providing respite care or emotional and practical support for carers, there’s a wealth of support out there to help unpaid carers get a better balance in their life, but sometimes it can be hard to know where to look.
At Crossroads Together, we’re always looking for new ways to support local carers and help avoid them feeling lonely or isolated.
For example, we’re currently trialling an innovative new scheme in Oldham to enable GPs to prescribe a break for carers who are in need of temporary respite from their caring roles. The scheme provides unpaid carers with a minimum four-hour respite break, and we’re hoping to be able to roll it out further across the areas in which we work in the near future.
Our aim is to ensure that carers maintain their own health and wellbeing and are not put into financial straits. That they get a break from their caring role and that they know expert advice and support is available to them too.
This Carers Week, the most important thing is to remember you’re never alone: reach out and see what support is available to you.