Carers Rights Day takes place on Thursday 26th November, and Carer Support Wiltshire are using the day to make sure unpaid carers are armed with knowledge and know what support is out there for them.
It is estimated that 4.5 million additional people in the UK have started to provide care to older, disabled or seriously ill relatives or friends since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Meanwhile 78% of those who were already looking after someone have found the amount of care they are now providing has increased.
Carer Support Wiltshire wants to put out the message to anyone who might be caring for someone in the future to plan now as much as you can. Planning early means that if things get more difficult down the line and you start to find it difficult to cope, you will know what support is available to you.
Vincent Mobey from Cricklade cares for his wife Maggie who has Parkinsons. He said:
“I’d really recommend improving your knowledge of the world you now live in. My GP surgery introduced me to Carer Support Wiltshire and we also joined Parkinsons UK, the Swindon branch, and they’ve been really supportive. They put on lots of social events and we’re able to comfortably mix with other carers and people with Parkinsons.
“I volunteer at Parkinsons UK hosting their Cricklade café, which is very successful. I’ve met some lovely new friends of all different ages. Whatever health issues the person you care for has, people should know there are support groups specific to their medical condition that give a lot of support.”
David Walker from Melksham cares for his wife Georgina, who has advanced late-stage Alzheimer’s. He said:
“From personal experience I recommend that people find out everything they can from the person they ‘may’ be caring for in the future. Find out everything they know that you don’t and everything they can do that you can’t.
“Georgina’s condition has declined over 10 years and over that time I’ve needed to learn many simple tasks as they became more difficult for her to manage. Using the oven and the washing machine for example.
“Like many carers, the challenges I have faced over the past 10 years have been many and varied; from bureaucracy, to a lack of information and advice, and sometimes sheet obfuscation. But through a combination of determination and bloody mindedness, I have always managed to find a solution. Help is out there if you take the time to look for it.”
Cllr Simon Jacobs, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “If you are caring for a family member or friend and are worried about the future then we would encourage you to speak to someone who can help you consider your options and make a plan. It could be a health or social care professional, or another family member or friend. Please don’t wait until you’re struggling to cope to ask for help.”
To find out more about Carers Rights Day and learn about the rights carers can expect to receive, such as in the workplace and healthcare settings, visit the Carer Support Wiltshire website. The helpline number is 0800 181 4118, available during normal office hours, and someone is always happy to help with any support carers need.