Carers Week (11-17 June) is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges carers face and recognising the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.
The campaign is brought to life by thousands of individuals and organisations who come together to organise activities and events throughout the UK, drawing attention to just how important caring is.
Around 6.5 million people in the UK are carers, looking after a parent, partner, child or friend. A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, mental health problem or who needs extra help as they grow older. Caring can be a hugely rewarding experience but sometimes carers find it challenging to take care of their own wellbeing whilst caring.
It is incredibly important that people remain independent for as long as possible and live in their own homes – not only from a financial point of view but also from a mental health perspective and carers play a huge role in making this possible. It is widely accepted that the longer people remain in their home the happier and healthier they are both physically and mentally.
“Carers play a vital role within our community and events such as Carers Week are a great way of raising awareness of this. Whether it is someone employed as a carer or a relative helping to care for a family member, the work they do and time they give up is invaluable and should never be underestimated. There is a huge amount of equipment available these days to help people with reduced mobility and independence, from smaller items such as grab rails and can openers through to more substantial solutions such as walkers, stairlifts, adjustable furniture and scooters,” commented Ed Mylles, Director, Living Made Easy.
Further evidence of the important role carers play is revealed by recent research which shows that up to 45% of people using AskSARA (which is a feature of Livingmadeeasy) are looking on behalf of someone else. Impartial organisations such as www.livingmadeeasy.org.uk are on hand to offer support to carers and are invaluable in enabling remote searches for suitable equipment and sources of information. A prime example of this is relatives and friends who may be researching for older parents living in another part of the country.
At www.livingmadeeasy.org.uk which is a completely free website, visitors can research and compare over 10,000 different items from over 950 suppliers all of which have been designed to help with assistive living prior to contacting a supplier or visiting their local mobility shop. Figures have shown that almost half the users of the advice services are searching on behalf of someone and in addition to the website, they also have a helpline (0300 999 0004) which is open 10am-4pm Monday to Friday.