Carers Rights Day

Thursday 25 November is Carers Rights Day. Whether you are a new unpaid carer or have been caring for someone for a while, at Benenden Hospital, we believe it's important that you understand your rights and are able to access the support that is available to you.

What is Carers Rights Day?

The focus of this year’s Carers Rights Day is to raise awareness of the rights that unpaid carers have. The pandemic has had a massive impact on the lives of carers around the world. Lockdowns have affected access to services and carers abilities to juggle their work, care and time for themselves too. Also, if they are caring for a vulnerable person who is high risk, carers have been put under even more stress and anxiety.

Join us as we ensure carers are aware of their rights, let carers know where to get help and support and raise awareness of the needs of carers. Let’s help unpaid carers take care of themselves too.

Who is a carer?

A carer is someone who provides 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.

Up and down the UK there are millions of people providing unpaid care for an ill, frail or disabled family member or friend. While these people are called ‘carers’, they would probably say they are just being a husband, a wife, a mum, a dad, a son, a daughter, friend or neighbour.

In a recent survey carried out by Carers UK, of nearly 6,000 carers, they discovered:

  • Four in five unpaid carers are providing more care for relatives
  • 78% reported that the needs of the person they care for have increased during the pandemic
  • Two thirds (67%) are worried about how they will cope through further lockdowns or local restrictions.

How does someone become a carer?

When people need help with their day to day living, they often turn to their family and friends who are their closest support network.

For others, caring responsibilities can grow gradually over time. For example, maybe your parents can't manage on their own any longer or your partner's mental or physical health gradually worsens. In these circumstances you have to step in and may not realise you’ve become an unpaid carer.

How can we support carers?

Caring can be a constant juggling and balancing act, sometimes without a moment’s rest and many carers can feel isolated as a result. Here are some small acts of kindness to help support the unpaid carer(s) in your life:

  • Reach out and have a conversation to see how they’re doing
  • Ask them whether they need any help with shopping, childcare or everyday chores
  • It can be difficult for carers to make plans with friends and family while someone depends on them, so try to make it as easy as possible for them and be understanding

If you don’t know a carer personally, you still help by supporting charities such as: Age UK, Carers Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Oxfam GB and Rethink Mental Illness.

Published on 25 November 2021