Welcome to Carers Week + Carers Week report

Hello everyone

Welcome to Carers Week 2022 which runs from Monday 6th to Sunday 12th June. The theme for this year is ‘Make caring visible, valued and supported’ and we hope you’ll be able to take part in some of the many activities taking place during the week. You can find out about events taking place in your area at www.carersweek.org


We’d love to see you at one of the six online meetups we’re running during the week and we hope you’ll be able to join our second Care for a Cuppathon on Saturday (11am till 4pm) which will feature a fantastic range of authors and musicians, as well as the usual supportive chat that we have at our weekly Care for a Cuppa sessions. Please follow this link for further details and to register for the sessions: www.carersuk.org/cuppa

Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution that you all make to families and communities throughout the UK. It also helps people who don’t think of themselves as having caring responsibilities to identify as carers and access much-needed support.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a monumental impact on unpaid carers’ lives – not only because of the increased amount of care that many of you have provided, but because of the far-reaching effect that providing this level of care has had on unpaid carers. Many people also took on new caring responsibilities for their relatives and friends who are disabled, ill or older and who need support.

Carers need to be recognised for the difficulties that many of you are experiencing, respected for all you are doing, provided with information, and given the support you need to care safely. So, during Carers Week, we are coming together to make caring Visible, Valued and Supported.

A Recovery and Respite Plan for Unpaid Carers
Carers UK and the six other charities involved with Carers Week 2022 are calling on Government to outline additional support for carers across a range of areas – including breaks, respite and care services, infection control, identification of carers, financial help, and support to juggle work and care. Doing so would recognise the enormous impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on carers’ lives, as well as the people they care for, and help to mitigate some of the negative impacts that caring can have on carers’ own physical and mental health.

Please join us in calling on the government to develop a Recovery and Respite Plan for Unpaid Carers, to ensure all carers get the support they need. You can write to your MP with just a few clicks and thanks to everyone who has already done this.

Join the campaign at About our campaign | Carers Week

You can find out more about Carers Week and how to get involved here: www.carersweek.org

Carers Week is led by Carers UK, with the support of six other national charities in 2022: Age UK, Carers Trust, MND Association, Rethink Mental Illness, Oxfam GB and The Lewy Body Society.

New Carers Week research highlights rising pressures on carers while 84% of public want to see carers receive better support

With Carers Week taking place this week, this morning we released new research which shows the rising pressures that unpaid carers are currently facing.

You won’t be surprised to hear that many carers are struggling with the ongoing impact and negative legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic. The continued strain on social care services, many of which remain unavailable to carers, combined with the current cost of living crisis, have left carers urgently needing more support. Tellingly, when asked about their needs, the impact of caring on their own physical and mental health has topped carers’ concerns for the first time and over 2 million are worried about their finances.

Specifically, the research we have released – based on national polling by YouGov – shows:

More than 4.6 million unpaid carers are concerned about their physical and mental health and over 2 million carers are worried about their ability to cope financially
More care is being provided by unpaid carers than ever before, even more than during the height of the pandemic. The number of people providing substantial care (i.e. over 20 hours of care or more per week) has risen by 42% across the UK since October 2020; while the number providing more than 50 hours has increased by 30%.
There are also more unpaid carers in 2022 than before the pandemic, with one in five of the UK’s adults (approximately 10.6 million people) now supporting a relative, close friend or neighbour because of chronic illness, including mental ill-health, dementia, disability, or older age.
There is overwhelming public support for more Government action to help unpaid carers - 84% of the general public think that the UK governments should provide additional support to unpaid carers, including increased financial support and investment in care and support services so that unpaid carers can have a break. Only 3% disagreed.

The seven charities supporting Carers Week 2022 (Carers UK, Age UK, Carers Trust, MND Association, Rethink Mental Illness, Oxfam GB and The Lewy Body Society) are calling for Government to develop a Recovery and Respite Plan dedicated to the needs of carers, including specific investment in their mental health support, prioritising carer’s leave, boosting carer’s incomes to reduce the risk of poverty and hardship, help with food and energy costs and, ahead of the winter, prioritisation in the vaccination programme.

Please see the open letter we have collectively sent to the Prime Minister and other Government Ministers regarding a Recovery and Respite Plan for Unpaid Carers, here.

If you would like to support our campaign, you can do so by:

Backing our call for Government to develop a Recovery and Respite Plan for Unpaid Carers by writing to your MP regarding the support carers need.
Adding your voice to our Carers Week wall.
Supporting our campaign, and Carers Week more widely, on social media using #CarersWeek – please see a suggested tweet below:
COVID has had a profound effect on the lives of carers and the people they care for. This #CarersWeek, I support @CarersUK in calling for the UK Government to publish a Recovery and Respite Plan for Unpaid Carers! www.carersweek.org/open-letter

If you have any questions about Carers Week or the research we have released today, please contact policy@carersuk.org. Thank you in advance for your support.

I am really concerned that yet again, there is emphasis on those of working age.
The idea of “juggling work and caring” ignores those who CANNOT work because their loved one has such high level needs.

PENSIONER CARERS get nothing, but caring as you get older is harder and harder.
After major cancer surgery 18 years ago, I was told never to care for anyone ever again

My son with learning difficulties now lives in a privately rented flat, with carer support, but he never gets the full amount of care he is entitled to. Staff are very unimaginative, his “birthday treat” was a cup of team in a cafe!

The care agency have decided that the promised holiday to Butlins will not go ahead this year, so the only way he will get a holiday is if I take him somewhere. I’ve now booked a self catering cottage on the Isle of Wight, a very short drive for me, but I’ll still be caring for him for a week, without any support.

Although there is a significant budget for the agency to care for my son for a week, I will get nothing.
The cottage will cost £1,000.

Please can you put pressure on the government to enable budgets to be used more flexibly.
Hampshire simply refuses to pay family carers.

I’m with BB on this to some extent at least. Yes, working carers get a rough deal. ALL carers do, and there is always a point where no matter how much help a carer gets from work, they may have to give up work.

I worked for a carers centre for just shy of 21 years. They couldn’t have been more flexible, especially when my wife had her spinal cord injury. I worked mornings only for three months while she was in hospital. I was able to work flexible hours thereafter, and there were no concerns raised, no problems: as you should expect from a carers centre. But eventually my health made the decision for me and I had to take early retirement. Financially we manage, but until we reach retirement age in two years, we’ll be struggling.

My biggest concern is parent carers. They are the most likely to care for a lifetime, and therefore most likely to struggle financially, and with their health. It’s what did the damage to me.

They are never discussed by government. They almost never get help, and even the help they’re entitled to is rarely forthcoming, storing up trouble for adult services to worry about later. It’s utterly ridiculous.

The fact is, ALL carers are shafted, and the best thing we can do is pick on one thing that would help every carer as our first target. Nibbling at the problem sets one carer against another.

It was not my intention to highlight just pensioner carers.

The benefits and care systems recognise those with disabilities,.
It does NOT value all carers the same.
It applies different values to the work a family carer does, and the work that an employed carer does.

Regardless of your employment status, when you are caring for someone you are not doing something for yourself. .

Family carers might get Carers Allowance, but students, pensioners, and many others get nothing.

Brexit and Covid have led to more people than ever before needing support, yet there is a real shortage of suitable care staff.

In theory, my son’s care package can be used flexibly. In reality, it’s completely rigid. Use it when you are supposed to use it, or the money is gone forever.

I ran a group for parent carers long ago, starting about 33 years ago when my son was about 10.
It was for anyone in the New Forest area who was concerned about their child, physically or mentally.
No need for a diagnosis, it was self referral.

I was very ill when he was 16, so he became a boarder at school, then college, then residential care, then supported living. I was absolutely against this, but too ill to find an alternative, after major cancer surgery.
Changes of staff and policy mean that he is now totally isolated, rings me every night, and never gets his full amount of hours.

In theory he has plenty of hours, but the council won’t ensure that there are suitable plans in place for him to enjoy his hobbies and interests. So he wants to come home to me.

Now the parents from my parents group are all really, really struggling. Strokes, heart attacks, arthritis, most of us are now disabled in some way ourselves. Many want their child to move out, they just can’t cope any more. Social Services are dragging their heels, they know that these children have high care needs, would need 24/7 care and that’s expensive!

If needs were properly recognised, and family carers were allowed to either provide the care themselves, or arrange something different, lives would be transformed.
In theory, Direct Payments, Personal Budgets, and Individual Service Funds make this possible already.

In practice, there is a blanket ban on funding care provided by family members.
I’ve been told, in writing, “we don’t do that in Hampshire”.

If Social Services properly assessed and funded needs, then Carers Allowance could be abolished altogether.

I have enjoyed most aspects of carers week but it’s also caused me to reflect on how carers are treated. For example I was at an online event today (not Carers UK) it was a carers conference where different professionals were basically patting themselves on the back as to how amazing they’d been at connecting with carers. There wasn’t much praise or valuing the actual carers. Also some of the language used was demeaning and not helpful. I will be feeding this back. Anyway I have to say that Carers UK online events this week so far have been great and I’m really looking forward to the Cuppathon this Saturday :smiley: