You maybe wondering why I am still promoting this petition as we are in the Coronavirus, COVID 19 crisis and certainly now that Social Care is appearing to have some signs of recognition.
It is because of this recognition and I do appreciate the Government is concentrating on COVID 19, but Social Care has been forgotten for many years and certainly with regards to funding. I have been involved with Social Care, be it with regards to family or on a wider basis for over some 40 years and funding was always an issue and the last 10 years have has made the situation much worse.
So the recognition is an impetus on which to build and to ensure the recognition continues when COVID 19 has been overcome.
So here is how I am currently promoting the petition.
We all have reasons for reaching out and some of mine are mentioned below
As I am very concerned about Social Care could I also introduce you to my latest Petition, ‘Solve the crisis in Social Care’.
It’s leaflets at the moment. If my son sees any, in a cafe for instance, he wants them all. Later he will want to go through them and then destroy each one, tearing them into tiny pieces. We’ve got him down to a maximum of three. This is progress. When he lived at home, it was books – each one to be looked through swiftly, then reshelved on the other side of the room. If we went outside, every item on display in the two village shops had to be named three times. I stopped going outside. I stopped trying to speak to anyone on the phone, because my son knew that if he stood next to me and shrieked like an agonised seagull no one could hear a thing.
I have spent a large part of my life as a carer for my son, whom I shall call Huw (he is now a vulnerable adult) who has severe autism and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). I was helped for part of that time by my daughter, Rhiannon. There are around 7 million carers in the UK – that’s one in 10 people – and that doesn’t include parents whose children aren’t sick or disabled. So many carers’ stories go untold. Why? Probably because it’s exhausting, especially if lack of sleep is part of the picture (typical in cases of autism). It may be because unaffected people feel uncomfortable thinking about it, but it’s possible that they just don’t think about it, full stop – because our stories aren’t out there. And yet it’s possible we will all be carers at some point.
Many people will find, at some stage in their life, that they will need to assume responsibility for someone who cannot care for themselves. Caring is a vital part of our society, and for most people it cannot be outsourced to an expensive nursing home or private staff.
Yet caring remains undervalued. A catchphrase from the Thatcher era, seeking to justify the destruction of many social support systems, was that “spoon-feeding only teaches the shape of the spoon”. This ignores the fact that people from babyhood to frail old age often do actually need to be spoon-fed. By insisting that society did not exist, the Tories set in motion a pretence that such needs do not exist, and the people who cater for them were not worthy of recognition, beyond some vague adulation of “family values”.
Caring can either break you or make you a stronger, wiser person. Many people, most of them women, can be broken by the burdens they have had to take on, now that society has largely turned its back on their needs as support systems for sick and disabled people and their families have been further dismantled.
More than half (51%) believe they ‘don’t know’ a single friend or family member, looking after a loved one, despite 1 in 10 people in the UK being carers.
The general public remain ‘in the dark’, as a majority drastically underestimate the number of carers in their own family, friendship groups and places of work, according to new research by Carers UK released for Carers Rights Day (24 November).
The research released today shows that more than half (51%) believe they don’t know a single family member or friend who cares, whilst as many as 3 in 5 workers (62%) believe they don’t know ‘any work colleagues’ who help look after a loved one. In reality, 1 in 10 (10%) people in the UK are carers and 1 in 9 people in the workforce are juggling their paid job with unpaid caring.
The findings come one year after Carers UK’s Missing Out report showed the impact of carers not being identified quickly enough. Amongst carers who ‘struggled’ to recognise their roles, more than half saw their finances (52%) and mental health (78%) negatively affected as a result.
Alarmingly, even amongst those members of the public who did manage to recognise that a friend or family member looked after someone, as many as 3 in 5 (58%) did not ‘suggest where to find further information on caring’ and the number rose to 65% amongst those who knew carers in the workplace.
Amongst all of those polled, including those that had not recognised carers in their social circles or at work, two thirds (67%) said they would feel confident providing ‘emotional support’ to a new carer. Yet, only 2 in 5 (42%) would feel confident pointing people in the direction of information about caring. Carers UK is asking the public to equip themselves with more knowledge and understanding of how to support carers, to improve confidence in reaching out to carers.
The findings also revealed differences amongst men and women, carers, and non-carers, and those of different ages:
• Gender: Women are more likely to say they know a friend or family member who is a carer (43%) compared with men (34%). Female workers (27%) are also more likely than men (17%) to say they know a colleague who is caring.
Among those that know carers, women were more likely (42%) than men (34%) to have suggested sources of information to friends and family and significantly more likely to have suggested information to colleagues with caring roles (35%) than men (25%).
• Age: Despite being at the peak age of caring themselves, those aged 45-54 are only slightly more likely (40%) to say they have any family or friends that are carers compared with 39% of the wider public.
• Carers and non-carers: Unsurprisingly, those who have never had an unpaid caring role are more likely (59%) to say they don’t have any friends or family who care. Only 17% of current carers say they don’t have any friends or family that are caring.
Heléna Herklots CBE, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:
“More and more of us are stepping into caring roles, yet carers all-too-often remain hidden in plain sight at work, in friendships, and even in the families. Often, it takes somebody else to tell us that we are a carer before we recognise ourselves as such.
This year, we are encouraging every member of the public to learn more about caring and where to go for advice and assistance. It is only through our concerted efforts to identify and support carers that we can alleviate some of the emotional and practical challenges facing the 6.5 million people looking after an ill, older or disabled loved one.”
Every year, Carers UK uses Carers Rights Day (24 November) to reach the 6.5 million with crucial information about the rights, financial support, and practical help they are entitled to; including benefits, such as Carer’s Allowance, respite, equipment and technology.
This year, under the theme of ‘Make Connections, Get Support’, Carers UK is reaching out beyond the 1 in 10 of us who care, calling on the general public to equip themselves with enough knowledge to feel confident identifying and directing carers towards support.
Carers UK has developed a range of tools in time for Carers Rights Day, to help both the general public and carers early in their caring journey get the information and support they need: