Carers Uk estimates 4.5 million people have become unpaid carers since the start of the coronavirus outbreak began. The value of the care that unpaid carers provid is £132 billion per billion per year, the equivelent to a second NHS.
This week is #carersweek, a chance to raise awareness of caring and show gratitude for all those who support people either as their job or voluntarily.
Caring for people plays a vital role as a core pillar of our health care system and even more so during the lockdown period. Lets celebrate these unsung heros for their compassion and strength and make caring visible by raising awareness of the contribution carers make and the challenges they face.
The Princess Royal, who is a President of Carers Trust, speaks directly to unpaid carers. She acknowledges how the sacrifices they make, and the difficulties they face “all too often go unnoticed”.
The Princess Royal observes that the theme for this year’s Carers Week, Making Caring Visible, “has never been more important. Especially because Coronavirus has made all the challenges you were already facing even more daunting.”
She also appreciates the difficulties family carers have because they need to “stay inside and care” having and impact on their mental health due to being cut off and isolated from friends and family.
Carers Trust said “Unpaid carers play an indispensable role supporting family members who cannot look after themselves because of an illness, disability or mental health problem. But the devoted care they provide is delivered at home and out of sight. It’s hard for the public to see, far less recognise, just what a difference unpaid carers are making every day to improving the lives of others. And so it’s easy to understand why so many carers feel invisible – as if their tireless work in caring for others is all too easily forgotten, or ignored.“
Caring for someone is a challenging task and can have a huge impact on cares own physical and mental health, with out the additional pressure of the coronavirus outbreak, where outside support is minimised yet caring duties maximised. Carers week, is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, and highlight the challenges they face.
Local Carer, Gary Nicklin knows only too well of the impact lockdown has had on him and his colleagues and the service users. Gary works with people with complex learning disabilities and spoke to Andover Radio 95.9FM about his life as a support worker.
“Whilst going through this pandemic as a support worker life is a bit different. As residents are not leaving their homes and their daily routines overturned we have had to think more out of the box as to how we offer a fulfilling service. We have had to adapt to the needs of the service users to provide different activities as they cant attend the local Day services or usual groups.”
Gary told Andover Radio 95.9FM that hand hygiene has always been a key element to care but even more so now to ensure the risk of infection is kept to a minimal. Gary recognised that with the weather being nice it has been easier to adapt than it may have been. “Some of the service users have been able to get outside to plant flowers , to make the gardens look more colourful, others have been crafting , making birthday cards for the support workers, We have one lady who has started scrap-booking, Its all trying to make life as normal as we can during this present time.”
Its not all about doing the nice things Gary expressed the exhaustion of ensuring all the service users needs are met, cooking cleaning, emotional needs, medication, paperwork and yet he said “Even after the shift has ended and your at home, caring never leaves your mind, your always thinking about your day and the following day”
Once Gary is home his next shift begins caring for his mother-in-law.
Gary told Andover Radio 95.9fm,
“I love caring for people and making a difference to their lives.”
The Thursday carers clap may have come to an end but we will continue to make carers visible. To all our unsung heros we THANK YOU. To celebrate National Carers week The Princess Royal Trust for Carers in Hampshire is part of a network of 144 Carer Centres in the UK. Invite all Hampshire Carers to enjoy an interactive event.
If you are a carer and need some support, The Princess Royal Trust for carers in Hampsire are still there for you. Although their hubs, support groups and GP clinics are temporarily suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak you are still able to contact them for 1-2-1 support by calling 01264 835246 or emailing email@example.com