Carers Rights Day 2014

matthew mckenzieWelcome to a caring mind blogsite. A site dedicated to a carer’s perspective on mental health awareness and sometimes other health topics and events. On this post I want to talk about carers rights. You see Carer’s Rights Day is on the 28th of November and I am writing this post just before the day.

 

However, what is a carer? and why is it important that carers need to be aware of their rights?

Well basically a carer is someone who looks after either a close relative, friend or neighbour who are not able to take care of themselves. The caree (the one receiving care) can either be suffering from a physical or mental health problem. Now I am a carer of someone suffering mental ill health, so as a carer I am passionate about what carers have to go through.

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Carers unfortunately do not have it easy, if you are caring for someone who is chronically ill, then as a carer you will spend more time caring than looking after your own needs. Another difficult situation is carers have to SACRIFICE so much to able to carry out their role. Carers find it hard to work normal hours, carers have to spend a lot of time and energy in their roles, plus carers sometimes have to navigate the difficult maze of confidentiality.

The problems I have pointed out above only make a small percent of what carers have to tackle. So if there are even more difficulties in a caring role, what could make the difference? What could make a caring role more easier to bear?

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The answer is carers having their needs supported, plus also having their rights protected. As of this writing we have two acts over in the UK, these are “The Children and Families Act” and “The Care Act”. The Children and Families Act 2014 introduces a system of support which extends from birth to 25, while the Care Act deals with adult social care for anyone over the age of 18. These Acts, which hopefully will become bills will help support carers in their role.

I expect Carers Rights Day to focus on these acts and help explain what rights carers are meant to be given. There are around 6 to 6.5 million carers in the UK and carers save the NHS £87 billion every year!! However looking at carers these days, you would not think anyone would notice how much value carers add to the community. The problem is that carers help save money, but if carers were buying into something then carers would be protected.

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Now we have two new acts which looks to protect carers, but this is not the end of the story, how does Carers Rights Day help in carer awareness? Well if you are a carer, you may have already known how difficult it is to get support in order to make your role easier, or make your life easier. Carer’s Rights Day makes it known that carers have a right to information that supports their role, it is also important to help raise awareness of carers rights.

Carers also have the right to have financial support and also be aware of where to get that financial support. This is because carers just do not have the time to work if they are so busy caring, which is something so many people do not understand. Carers are financially poor not because they do not work, but they just do not always have the time.

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A national carers organisation called CarersUK has released a report which examines how financial pressures affect health, wealth, and well-being of carers. It is worth reading off their site.

Carers also struggle to find information, sometimes its difficult for carers to find the right person to get such information, but What can be worse is if that the carer finally finds that person who may end up withholding information for other reasons. Carer’s Rights day should also focus on how carers can get access to information within the right context to carry out their role.

Time and time again carers can be driven back into a role that is unsafe, unhealthy and unnerving for many carers not only across the UK, but across the world. Carers need to take a step forward and be counted for their efforts. Not everyone has the time and patience to look after someone. Carers should be valued for their skill-set in keeping the family together and keeping the community together. For far too long carers have been denied access to so much support.

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Carers Rights Day should also be a celebration for carers across the UK. I for one am going to spend part of the day visiting Carers Lewisham and I am also keen to see what the other carer’s centers are up to on the day.

What amazes me as a carer is wondering what would the situation be for carers if there was no Carers Rights day? How bad would it have to be for carers to continually care for someone with little support, before that carer suffers from bad health themselves?

We can all make that difference on Carers Rights Day. As a carer I urge other carers to blog about their experience of Carers Rights day, I also hope many people attend carers awareness events and pick up information about Carers Rights Day.

Thank you for reading.

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