In this Carers Week, it is important to take a moment and think of all the different sorts of carers our communities are lucky to have.
Young carers looking after parents and siblings, grandparents looking after grandchildren, people looking after younger and older relatives and friends. Families providing care and support for family members with life long often debilitating conditions. Neighbours checking in on neighbours.
Some provide ad hoc care and support, some a few hours a week on a regular basis - and for some, it is a full-time job and then some!
Through my work, I’m regularly amazed at what carers do. My work means the carers I see most often are parents with children with complex additional needs or who have been injured as a result of an accident or negligence.
Regardless of the hours 'worked' as a carer, the role is an all consuming one. Juggling often complex physical care needs, providing emotional support to the person with caring needs and their wider support network, perhaps juggling a job, always juggling other needs such as shopping, medical and other appointments, and, at all turns, advocating for those they care for.
For parents with children with additional needs and disabilities, their role is also often as a medical expert in the often complex and inextricably linked set of medical conditions and unique needs of their child. They can be experts on a par with the best consultants in their child’s specialist set of needs. And this is all done out of love and affection.
My role helps families in this situation address the future and plan how a loved one will be supported, provided for and who will be in a position to advocate for them through consideration of wills, powers of attorney and deputyships. By planning for the future, hopefully, one small aspect of the mental load carried by carers can be alleviated, knowing their loved one will be protected come what may.
If you are, or know, a carer or carers group for whom a discussion about future planning could help alleviate some of the mental load, do get in touch.
We are so lucky as individuals and as a society to have such strength, care, compassion and practical skills amongst us.
Carers you are amazing!
Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. It also helps people who don't think of themselves as having caring responsibilities to identify as carers and access much-needed support.