Why we need a sea-change in attitudes towards unpaid carers

It is estimated there are seven million carers in the UK and between 70 000 to 80 000 of them are in Dorset. Older carers are the most disadvantaged group in Britain and among those saving our country GBP 119 billion per year. It has long been recognised that three factors are crucial to maintaining the quality of life of carers and those they care for, namely: adequate financial resources, appropriate respite and reliable domiciliary support. Research shows that the majority of Britain's carers today are still struggling in these areas.

Perhaps you are among those who have given up their lives and aspirations to look after a loved one at home. Perhaps you are living with someone with dementia. Perhaps you feel 'low' and isolated through lack of sleep. Maybe your family and friends are not as supportive as you would like. Maybe you feel let down or even traumatised by 'the system'.

Advocare's research shows that those who have never been an unpaid, full-time carer tend to have little or no grasp of the demands and problems associated with the caregiver's role. Our casework shows that a huge gap exists between the perceptions of those working in the field of health, mental health and social care and the reality unpaid carers experience.

Our casework also shows that:

  • Carers often feel intimidated by officialdom.
  • Their role as sole advocate for a vulnerable loved one is undermined.
  • Carers Assessments are not offered routinely and fail to address greatest needs.
  • Full-time carers are reluctant to claim benefits for fear of losing what entitlements they have.
  • They are not always told about disability aids to help them care for their loved one.
  • Notes of official meetings generally fail to reflect what was actually said or agreed.

Advocare's Charter for Unpaid Carers

Based on what has been reported to us, we are formulating Advocare's Charter for Unpaid Carers. It will aim to provide carers with a 'rapid response' strategy to enable them to deal with their concerns more confidently. It will also help them to navigate bureaucratic processes more swiftly.

If you identify with any of the above we would like to hear about your experiences. Advocare is an independent organisation run by carers for carers so you can trust us and speak openly to us about your fears and concerns.

Help us bring about a sea-change in attitudes towards unpaid carers

Please ring Cathey on (01202) 737592. Work with us to bring about a sea-change in attitudes towards unpaid carers.

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