Before you read this blog considered this, if you are an unpaid carer think of all the outcomes that you have experienced so far. Think of all the hardships that you and the person you care for has gone through.
Carers rights day
Every year organisations that deal with unpaid carers and support those using the health services come together and try to raise awareness of unpaid carers. CarersUK promote the awareness day and theme this year is “caring for the future”.
Just so you know I will introduce the few terms in this blog. When I talk about an unpaid carer, I am not talking about a care worker. Care workers are paid to provide care to numerous clients. Unpaid carers provide care to those close to them.
Someone can become an unpaid carer for many different reasons. Unfortunately one of the reasons might not be out of choice. Considering the difficult role of unpaid carers, not many would want to rush into such a role. This is because there is a fear of the future, unpaid carers begin to wonder the following.
- How their loved one will be supported.
- How the carer themselves will be supported.
- What happens if things go wrong.
- Taking the unfortunate step to complain.
- Wondering what would happen if they cannot care anymore.
- Wondering what would happen if they loved one dies or moves on.
- Wondering how they are going to cope if benefits are cut.
These are all serious issues and oh no laughing matter. If you have been an unpaid carer for as long as I have which is properly 20 years +. Think of the outcomes.
- Has the lives of unpaid carers continued to improve over the past several decades?
- Has services across the country decreased putting pressure on other services and unpaid carers?
- Has funding increased for Carers Centres?
- Has austerity improved the lives of families and carers across the country?
- Has the number of carers increased across the country?
Every year around 2 million people will take the unfortunate step to become a carer. Some carers will have to give up work to continue caring for a loved one, while other carers do not want to risk getting support from the benefit system. Like myself 3 million carers juggle work with a caring responsibility. Do not believe government’s being that all carers do not work. Plus caring is in a job itself, a very difficult job considering the outcomes I have mentioned earlier on.
Do not get me wrong being a carer can be a rewarding job, but remember look at the outcomes. My aim is not to put you off in being a carer, but to remind you of your rights. I aim to remind you of your carer rights.
If you are an unpaid carer like myself. It is your right to speak up and tell it as it is. You as a carer should not feel ashamed if you have felt hard done by. Think of the outcomes if you feel that your loved ones life is ebbing away before your eyes. What is the risk? What is the cause? Who is to blame?
Never before has it been so important that carers are aware of their rights. It is so unfortunate that the care act 2014 can still seem so complex.
Just as a note this is not an exhaustive list, but what is mentioned here are a set of important factors in the carers role. If you are an unpaid carer please consider what I have mentioned below.
- As a carer it is your right to get help with benefits and also get support to sustain your income.
- As a carer it is your right to get support for therapy and counselling.
- It is your right to get a carer’s assessment especially if you ask for a carer’s assessment.
- As a carer you have the right to be fearful for the future, you have the right to ask for information.
- If you are a mental health carer, the information you may ask for might give better outcomes for the person you are caring for.
- As a carer you have the right to access advocacy, so in order to steer the ever-increasing maze of the health and social care system.
- As a carer you have the right two access courses to aid in caring and learning about confidentiality in the Caring role.
- As a carer you have to write to be supported with advanced directives, deputyships and power of attorney.
There are many reasons why carers across the country have a hard time. The thing is, carers can appreciate the awareness days, carers can appreciate strategies and policies set by carers organisations. Carers can appreciate the hard work the NHS does on behalf of their loved ones. Yet, if carers want real change, carers will have to lead from the front. Carers will have to implement a culture change. We must hear the carers voices. It is not just about organisation speaking on behalf of carers, carers must be given the power to speak for themselves and implement change.