Carers Week (6th – 12th June) is a national campaign to raise awareness about the challenges and achievements that come with being a carer. Telecare Choice fully support this campaign and recognise the impact that carers have on society and the difficulties that they can face.
One in eight adults are carers for relatives, spouses or friends who are disabled, elderly or seriously ill. The aim of Carers Week is to raise awareness about the challenges and difficulties faced by these individuals and to recognise their efforts and contributions to loved ones and to society. During this week individuals, organisations and charities come together to draw attention to just how important caring is.
Carer Friendly Communities
Did you know that 3 in 5 of us will be carers at some point in our lives? Of course, many of us will also require care ourselves at some point in our lives. It is important to recognise the invaluable, unpaid work that carers do. 3 in 4 carers don’t feel that their role is ‘understood and valued by the community’. This results in the carer (and often the person being cared for) becoming alienated from society and feeling discriminated against.
The main focus of Carers Week 2016 is building Carer Friendly Communities. Carers Week have described Carer Friendly Communities as “places where carers feel supported to look after their family or friends, and are recognised as individuals with needs of their own.’
Telecare Tips for Supporting Carers
So how can you show support for carers this Carers Week?
In the workplace:
Encourage your workplace to become carer friendly. This can be as simple as introducing a flexible working policy to allow carers to work around their caring responsibilities. You can also ask your HR department to make everyone aware of their rights and highlight the support that is available to them.
In the community:
Many carers feel isolated so it is helpful if their community makes an effort to become inclusive. If you have a community group, you could encourage discussion about caring or distribute leaflets and information about the topic. Even small gestures like acknowledging a carer in the street with a simple hello or helping them to manoeuvre a wheelchair can brighten someone’s day.
If you run a business or group in the community, try and make it disability friendly in order to make carers’ lives easier. Advertise carer friendly events or information in your offices, shops or public places.
Telecare alarm systems allow the person being cared for to remain somewhat independent and give peace of mind to the carer when they cannot be around. Telecare can allow the carer to go out, reassured in the knowledge that if the person they care for needs assistance that they will be informed.
At Telecare Choice, if an alarm user presses their alarm (this is a discreet pendant worn around the wrist or neck), our monitoring centre will speak to the user over the loudspeaker on the alarm unit (a box which plugs into the phone line) and assess the situation. They will then contact the carer, another nominated contact or the emergency services and inform them that the alarm user requires assistance. This means that the alarm user is protected in their own home without constant attention from a carer.
If you know someone who would benefit from a Telecare alarm please call our customer services team on 0800 635 7000 to discuss the services we can provide. You can also refer someone to us using our Telecare referral form and we will contact the individual within 24 hours.
A carer close to you:
Family and friends can be a huge help to carers by acting as a support network. Be open and understanding if a carer in your family wants to have a conversation with your about the strains and stresses they are under. It can often be helpful to have someone to talk to.
Some carers may find it difficult to open up as they can be involved in very emotionally complicated situations. Carers Week advise you to ask a carer ‘What is caring like for you?’ and just listen.
Get them advice:
Many carers don’t see themselves as such and therefore don’t seek the help and support that they are entitled to. Carers must look after their own wellbeing as well as the person who they care for.
Encourage them to visit charity websites such as Carers UK or Independent Age who provide extensive information and advice about caring. The forums on these websites can be helpful to speak to people in similar situations. The Carers UK helpline offers advice on care support, rights and what financial help a carer may be entitled to. You can call their helpline on 0808 808 7777 between 10am – 4pm every weekday.