It’s Carers Week, when we should be thinking of all of the carers out there. Whether you’re looking after a loved one full-time or dropping in to support a neighbour. We know that will include some of you reading this. You’re not alone, there are 4.1 million older carers living in the UK. That means 1 in 3 of older people is a carer.
Caring is incredibly hard work, so it was really worrying to hear that during the lockdown 4 million older carers said they’d received no respite in the last month.
The pandemic has taken away so much of the help older carers depended upon. Social distancing means carers have been unable to lean on friends and family for support, and day centre closures mean there are fewer places for carers to take loved ones and get a break themselves. Many carers have also stopped getting help from paid care workers as they’ve been so worried about bringing coronavirus into their homes.
Rasila, an older carer and a passionate campaigner for care reform told AgeUK “I haven’t had a complete break for the last 11 years. I’m so tired that I feel like I’ve forgotten how to smile. When I’m tired, I’m not giving my sister good care. If I could look after myself better, I could do my best for her”.
Earlier this week, Rasila and AgeUK met with MPs to let them know what the past year has been like for carers. They made it clear that all the nations’ governments need to do more to improve support for carers, and this includes ensuring unpaid carers are recognised in the Prime Minister’s upcoming plans for social care reform.
“Together, we’re going to keep speaking up to make sure carers’ voices are heard. We won’t rest until carers are getting the support they need”.