Who Cares for Carers?

Who Cares for Carers?

06 Feb 2024

An unpaid carer is defined as someone who looks after a friend or family member with a long-term health condition, disability, mental illnesses, addiction, or is elderly.

In a recent ITV ‘Tonight’ episode, ‘Who Cares for Carers’, Lindsey Burrows, wife of Rob Burrows, former professional rugby league player, shines a light on the cost of being an unpaid carer. Lindsey, who became a carer for her husband following his diagnosis of Motor Neurones Disease in 2019, knows all too well the physical, emotional, and financial impact of being a carer. And she’s not alone, according to the latest Census (2021), there are 5 million people providing unpaid care in the UK.

Without unpaid carers our health and social care systems wouldn’t be able to cope, so why do they and their extraordinary work get so overlooked in our society? Dame Arlene Phillips, who formerly cared for her elderly father said, “I don’t think we acknowledge in any way the words ‘unpaid carer’; I don’t think people realise they exist”.

Becoming a carer is something that could happen to any of us throughout our lives, regardless of gender, race, age, or class. And yet it is a subject that is so rarely broached. “It’s such a dirty word, this is what I’ve realised. I’m really proud of being a carer, I think it’s one of the most honourable things you can offer another human being”, says Lina Mookerjee, carer for her husband.

But who is there to care for the carer? To support them so that they can continue to provide the invaluable work they do. Often, unpaid carers struggle to balance paid work and care, with 63% of carers reporting to be extremely worried about managing their monthly costs*. The impact of caring for someone can also take effect on emotional and mental wellbeing, with over a quarter of carers (29%) reporting they feel lonely often or always*.

At Involve, we are here for carers. We provide Carers Assessments on behalf of Kent County Council, where we will take the time to listen to you, your needs, and where you feel you may need support. We will use the information you give us to develop a support plan where we can help with any eligible needs. This may include access to support groups, access to free training, help with benefits, a care package, or a sum of money to access a service in the community or purchase a piece of equipment. Our friendly Navigators will continue to keep in touch to make sure the support put in place is beneficial, and provide you ongoing advice and support, including signposting to other services.

If you are caring for a friend or relative in West Kent and need support, get in touch with us by calling 03000 810 005, or by emailing hello@involvekent.org.uk.

Watch the full ITV programme here.

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