The importance of carer forums

Welcome to another carer blog post from Matthew McKenzie

Ever thought why carer centres run carer forums? If you are a carer then you know that you are putting others first. The more unwell that person is, the more care and support you give. There will be times of course that you become isolated, tired and wondering if you are ignored.

Well the things I have mentioned are some of the reasons why carer centres run carer forums. Those very centres usually also run carer peer groups. It gives carers a chance to be listened to and also be heard. Carer peer groups and support groups do not really give carers a chance to be empowered, but they do provide support.

If you are lucky enough to belong to a carer centre that runs a carer forum, then you have a chance to become empowered. You might be wondering what Matthew is on about. Well give me a moment and I will get to the reasons why it is so important to attend and support your local carer forum.

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Ever heard the saying “Nothing about us without us?”. The very quote came from disability rights activist James Charlton. If you are caring for someone, then services provided for them will be decided if you are involved or not. This goes double if you are using carer support services.

It is all fine that carers scramble to use support services to reduce isolation, be given guidence and join in carer activities. There does come a time when carers get a little bit tired of being told what suits them. So carer forums give carers a chance to request what services would be useful. It is so important that unpaid carers be empowered to use their voice, not only to update and tell their carer’s story, but also to give input regarding the services they use.

If you are providing unpaid care then these services could be carer assessments, carer hubs, access to skill development, learning about upcoming events and a whole lot more.

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A healthy service is one that includes the user’s voice and this is the same when it comes to unpaid carers who use carer centre services. If you are providing unpaid care, you do not have to be an expert to attend and support your local carer forum. It can be fine to just attend and listen to updates. It takes a long time to become an empowered carer and many carer services can be complex, especially if your carer centre is involved at your local authority carer strategy.

Without a carer forum running from a carer’s centre then the risk is carer services will take guess work in what carers want. So it is so crucial that carer members new or veteran attend their carer forums.

Remember Nothing about us without us!!