Carers have always been important for our society and our health service, giving their time and energy selflessly for other people. This pandemic has made their role and the challenge they face even greater. Carers UK estimate that the current crisis has meant an additional 4.5 million people taking on caring responsibilities and 3 out of 4 existing carers are having to provide more care, and spending longer doing so. Often this comes at a considerable personal and financial cost. It’s important to remember that caring often means having to juggle work and childcare responsibilities.
The cost of COVID on people’s lives and on family life has been huge and that means carers in particular. Two thirds of carers haven’t had a break since the first lockdown began. More than half say it has affected their physical health and more than two thirds say their mental health has worsened.
This Thursday is Carers Rights Day when carers old and young, and some are very young, can get the advice they need. But it also shines a light on the vital work carers do and why the Government needs to give local authorities the resources they need to support carers and, for example, give access to testing for carers, The Government talks a good game on all of this but too often fails to deliver. And this underlines why in the longer term we need a proper Carers Strategy which recognises the vital contribution of unpaid carers.
Anyone wanting further information and support can contact Carers UK or the North Tyneside Carers Centre on 0191 643 2298 or firstname.lastname@example.org