National Carers Week 2023 – Supporting unpaid carers in the community
What is Carers Week?
Led by Carers UK, Carers Week is a national campaign that runs annually to raise awareness of the challenges faced by unpaid carers and recognise the contribution they make to society. It also helps people who don’t think of themselves as having caring responsibilities access valuable support and information that can help them.
What is a carer?
A carer is anyone who looks after someone (it could be a friend or family member) who has a mental or physical illness, disability, addiction, or simply needs additional help due to aging. This could be either in a temporary or permanent capacity. Carers can be anyone of any age and the UK has many young carers as well as adult carers.
Why is supporting unpaid carers important?
Carers have a huge role in propping up the care system but this support often goes unrecognised. A report, Caring in a Complex World, created by the King’s Fund, found that the work of unpaid carers is equivalent to that of four million paid care workers. Despite this, they often do not access help and may not even be aware that it is available to them.
Support and the importance of respite
Caring without support can be tough, which is why it’s important to ensure carers in our communities get assistance. Many carers often go about their caring responsibilities quietly and rarely draw attention to the work they do. They can include neighbours, colleagues and sometimes even friends.
For carers getting respite is even more important, however, because of the nature of caring duties this can often be more difficult to achieve.
Our Head of Innovation, Eddie, detailed a time when he realised that his neighbour took care of more than just her pet python,
“My next-door neighbour is retired and recently asked if I could look after her animals whilst she went away for the first time since lockdown. No worries I said, I have a fish tank of my own so all good there and fortunately her ball python doesn’t require any hands-on care. What surprised me was when my wife told me about the other care duties she needed to arrange cover for before she could head for the sun. She provides informal/unpaid care for two of our elderly neighbours who she visits twice a day to help with meals, medication and even changing dressings on an infected wound recently. Apparently arranging for someone to look after a ball python is easier than trying to persuade elderly neighbours to accept help from someone new. In this case, the council were able to help out and with encouragement they accepted temporary care arrangements. It got me thinking about how many people provide support like this for friends and family with additional needs. Are they stuck at home unable to go on holidays or even a night out because there is no-one to cover for them?”
How Grey Matter Learning continues to supports unpaid carers
Grey Matter Learning has recently launched their groundbreaking ‘All Care Matters’ campaign which gives free, unlimited access our eLearning platform Click, for 28 days. This pioneering initiative will help to shine a spotlight on personal carers (many of which are unpaid) who often have no access to formal training opportunities. The initiative will give carers the opportunity to complete up to 125 short social care courses online, helping them to deliver outstanding levels of care.
While paid carers are typically required to go through formal education such as the care certificate, unpaid carers are often left to fend for themselves. Extra knowledge and skills can help relieve the pressure on carers and provide skills that will benefit not just the carer but also importantly – the person being cared for. If you’re a carer, you can also access our range of FREE care courses.