In this article we look at who a carer is, what they do and how you can support them.
Who is a carer?
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.
Up and down the UK there are millions of people caring unpaid 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.
How does someone become 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.
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, and you have to step in.
How can I support carers?
Caring can be a constant juggling and balancing act, sometimes without a moment’s rest and many carers can feel isolated. Reach out and have a conversation with someone you know is caring to see how they’re doing. Ask them whether they need help with shopping or childcare or whether they just need a chat.
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, you can support charities who help carers such as: Age UK, Carers Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Oxfam GB and Rethink Mental Illness.
What is Carer’s Week?
Carer’s Week is an annual campaign to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made to families and communities throughout the UK by 6.5 million carers.
Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, carers have been increasingly taking on more. As they’re experiencing ever more challenging circumstances, it’s vitally important that we both recognise the contribution made by carers to their local communities and connect them to the support they need to manage their own health and wellbeing.
Get involved with Carer’s Week
Find out how you can get involved during Carers Week by visiting the Carer’s Week website.
Published on 07 June 2021