Carers Week is an annual awareness campaign in June drawing attention to the challenges carers face every day. 

It also helps people who don't think of themselves as having caring responsibilities to identify as carers and access much-needed support.

This Carers Week (8-14 June) we invite you to join Carers UK’s mission to help ‘Make Caring Visible’.

6.5 million UK residents are unpaid carers for a family member or friend with a disability, mental or physical illness, or who needs extra help as they grow older.  Many carers feel isolated and hidden (Source: Carers UK).

Caring impacts us all

We each have a 50% chance of becoming an unpaid carer by the age of 50 which alone might make the issue feel personal.  But what really focuses the mind is the impact of caring on economic productivity and health.  People providing high levels of care are twice as likely to be permanently sick or disabled[i]:

  • 72% of carers said they had suffered mental ill health as a result of caring.
  • 61% said they had suffered physical ill health as a result of caring.

Extract below from Carers UK's recent research into the impact of caring during Covid-19 pandemic

Everyone has a part to play in making sure carers can ACCESS support

Caring, especially now, brings complicated challenges related to safety, legal issues, the benefits system, or care services. Support and advice is freely available within charities, local authorities and local and national carers' organisations yet many carers don’t know how or where to access them.

Building a supportive community in Southampton

In Southampton there are about 32,057 unpaid carers[ii].  This year we are asking carers to identify the support around them and for the community to help them ACCESS it.

Reach out and ACCESS support

A

Ask for help from family members, friends and neighbours

  • Invite family members, friends and neighbours to help plan your schedule
  • Offer them the opportunity to share the load e.g. shopping, transport, washing
  • Give a copy of your schedule to family members, friends and neighbours

C

Carers in Southampton are here to help

  • If you have not yet done so, request a Carers Assessment
  • Access free advice and information on our website and via our support staff
  • Request a Carers Card to identify your caring role to others and also give you discounts

C

Contact Southampton City Council to register your Emergency Plan

  • Ensure the person you look after has had an assessment by SCC that reflects current needs
  • Involve and name family members, friends and neighbours in writing your emergency plan
  • Give them a copy of your emergency plan
  • Give a copy of your emergency plan to SCC so they can help or alert your contacts

E

Extend your network to other carers to share advice and worries

S

Speak to your medical services

S

Speak to your employer (if you have one)

  • You are entitled to request flexible work hours and your employer must consider your request although you cannot demand flexibility if they are unable to offer you suitable hours
  • All employees have the right to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off work (unpaid) to deal with an emergency or an unforeseen matter involving a dependant e.g. due to a disruption or breakdown in care arrangements
  • Some employers have carer friendly policies and can offer compassionate paid leave

    Contact information

    Email: [email protected]

    Phone: 023 8058 2387

    [i] Source: Carers UK's State of Caring 2018 Survey

    [ii] Based on 12.5% of 256,459 est. pop. in Southampton Data Observatory

    SO: Linked have set up a special team to answer calls and direct you to local help fast.

    Click on this safe link to visit their website: https://bit.ly/SOLinkedCiS

    You can also phone them on this number: 023 8021 6050 (please tell them we gave you their number)


    Viewpoint of two carers on the value of emergency plans


    Viewpoint for other carer focused organisations to participate


    Postcard campaign aimed at unpaid carers


    Carers UK set up a 'wall' where anyone could add their voice.  You can add yours by visiting

    https://www.carersweek.org/get-involved/voice-wall


    Marie Curie Supporting Carers

    If someone you’re close to has a terminal illness, Marie Curie is there to support you. There are a range of ways they can help you in your caring role.

    On the Marie Curie site you can find clear and useful information about supporting someone with a terminal illness.

    If you want to speak to speak to someone for advice or for a listening ear, you can call our support line free on 0800 090 2309.  Their support line officers, including nurses, are on the end of a phone ready to provide the information and emotional support. If you have any questions big or small, they are there for you.

    On the Taking Care site you can browse videos of other carers telling you what has helped them on their caring journey. Carers and professional talking candidly about the highs and lows of caring. Sharing their feelings, their encouragement and even their poetry

    Here are a few sections which may be of particular interest while people are facing the challenges of caring during the pandemic

    The full index can be found here

    https://takingcare.org.uk/

    https://www.mariecurie.org.uk/help/support/being-there