Who is a carer?
When people need help with their day to day living they often turn to their family and friends. Looking after each other is something that we do.
A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness, substance misuse issue, or who needs extra help as they grow older.
This year, carers are under more pressure than ever – and they need our support.
Up and down the UK there are millions of people caring unpaid for an ill, frail or disabled family member or friend. These people are called carers but they would probably say that they are just being a husband, a wife, a mum, a dad, a son, a daughter, a friend or a good neighbour.
For some taking on a caring role can be sudden; someone in your family has an accident or your child is born with a disability.
For others, caring responsibilities can grow gradually over time: your parents can’t manage on their own any longer; your partner’s or your child’s mental or physical health gradually worsens.
How can caring affect you?
The amount and type of support that carers provide varies considerably. It can range from a few hours a week, such as picking up prescriptions and preparing meals, to providing emotional or personal care day and night.
Carers help with personal things like getting someone dressed, turning them in their sleep, helping them to the loo, helping them move about or administering their medication. Carers also help with things like shopping, laundry, cleaning, cooking, filling in forms or managing money.
Caring can be a rich source of satisfaction in people’s lives. It can be life-affirming. It can help deepen and strengthen relationships. It can teach you a multitude of skills and help you realise potential you never thought you had.
But without the right support caring can have a significant impact. Evidence shows that caring can cause ill health, poverty and social isolation. This is why our focus for Carers Week 2020 is Making Caring Visible, to ensure that carers get the information and support they need from services and the wider public.
Caring is something that will affect each and every one of us in our lifetime, whether we become a carer, or need care ourselves.
Find out more how you can get involved with Carers Week