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The whole community

Despite their enormous contribution, 3 in 4 carers say they don't feel their caring role is understood and valued by their community. Every high street, every community service, every leisure facility has a role to play in making sure they are accessible to carers. Many are in a perfect position to make a difference by recognising carers and connecting them to the help and support available.

Here are some practical ideas to remove these barriers and foster communities that connect carers.

Community groups Local businesses  Friends and family


Community or faith groups

Around one in eight members of your community or faith group could be caring at any given time. 

Many people with caring responsibilities don't think of themselves as carers, and they can often miss out on advice and information.

Here are some practical ways to get carers connected:

  • Hold a meeting to talk about caring and the support available. You could consider inviting someone from a local carers' service to speak.
  • Share information about how to get support as a carer at your meetings or through email links.
  • Recognise that some of your group members might have difficulty attending meetings or taking part in activities. Are there ways that you could help make it possible? Could you offer lifts to and from meetings? Could they happen at different times to make it possible for them to attend?

Local businesses

Even when carers are able to get out of the house they can face additional challenges. Many venues and public transport are not physically accessible to those with mobility problems which can make it difficult for carers to go out with a disabled family member.

Challenging behaviours, and even physical and sensory disabilities, are often misunderstood by the general public and can be met with hostility in a way that makes going out in public stressful for families. Many carers are also living with long-term health conditions or disabilities themselves.

Whether you run a local café or work in the high street bank, there's lots you can do to get carers connected. At least one in eight of your customers will be a carer.

Here are some practical actions you can take:

  • Ensure your business is disability and dementia friendly by giving staff specific training. This really helps to improve carers' lives.
  • Advertise the things you do have, such as flexible home delivery, free entry for carers if they are with the person they care for, or different or flexible appointment times.
  • Display information about support for carers - linking with a local carers' support service.

Friends and family

Families and friends are an essential source of support for carers, providing emotional and practical help with their caring role.

8 in 10 carers say they have felt lonely or isolated as a result of their caring role and 1 in 4 carers said they'd feel less lonely if they felt more able to talk to family or friends about caring.

Not all carers find it easy to talk to relatives and friends about the care they are providing, and the strain it places on them. The stresses and pressures of caring can make it difficult to maintain relationships with friends and relatives.

If a family member has taken on a caring role, you may feel a mixture of guilt and relief that they are doing that role rather than you. These feelings and relationships are complicated and can be awkward.

But if you avoid them by withdrawing from the relationship or pretending that caring has no impact on your family member, then it's time to get things out in the open.

Here are some simple things you can do to help:

  • Ask a simple question to a carer among your friends and family members. What is caring like for you? Then listen.
  • Could you help in another way, perhaps arranging for a food delivery, or offering to get a prescription, or staying with the person for a short amount of time so a carer can have a break?
  • Could you take your friend or family member out for a coffee or keep in touch by text?

 

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Carers Week

Carers Week 2019 headline supporter:

 

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Carers Week is also supported by:

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These organisations have joined together to make Carers Week happen in 2019:

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  • Carers UK new logo
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