Unpaid carers are the hidden face of social care in Britain. The organisation Carers UK estimated that there are 11.5 million people across the UK who give unpaid support to someone who is elderly, seriously ill or disabled. It went on to estimate that, by doing so, unpaid carers are saving the government £193 billion a year.
Of the 900,000 unpaid carers nationally who provide this service full-time – most of whom are women – many rely on Carer’s Allowance, which is the lowest benefit of its kind at just only £67.25 a week. Understandably, life can be really tough for carers.
Unpaid carers also face a number of extra stressors that can have a negative impact on their wellbeing such as: higher levels of stress, which can eventually lead to burnout, as well as feelings of helplessness and exhaustion.
Unpaid carers have been hit harder by recent inflation rising costs than many: financial support for the person cared for has an impact, as does taking unpaid leave to cope with care needs.
What support is available if you’re an unpaid carer, to ease the pressure of looking after a loved one?
As noted above, there is a government-paid Carers Allowance which can help. You can also use a benefits calculator to see if you can claim for help with your council tax or with fuel costs.
Your local council are obliged to provide you with a care assessment which could allow you to claim for additional support, such as any equipment you might need to help you care for your loved one.
It is also important to talk to close friends and family about how you’re feeling. Being lonely and isolated will only add to feelings of despair and exhaustion. Opening up about your worries can be a huge help – as they say, ‘A problem shared is a problem halved.’
When you’re caring for someone, it is often easy to ignore your own needs. At Altogether Care, our experienced and highly-trained carers are on hand to help if you need to work or look after your own health and wellbeing. We can also offer permanent care for your loved one if you’re no longer able to do so.
We can help your loved one live an independent, active and healthy life by assisting with jobs like household cleaning, washing and ironing, shopping, cooking and collecting pensions. We can also provide a transport and escort service for medical appointments, day care attendance, and general outings.
If you would like to know more about how we could help you with caring for a loved one, don’t hesitate to get in touch and discuss your options. Call us on 01305 300 161 or email email@example.com