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Carers Rights Day - supporting those looking after a loved one

22 November 2022

Carers Rights Day is on Thursday 24 November and is a time to highlight the rights of unpaid carers and help raise awareness of how they can get the support they are entitled to. This year’s theme is ‘Caring Costs’.

One in eight of us will become unpaid carers at some point in our lives, which means we will look after a loved one who, due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, cannot cope without our support. These responsibilities affect people of all ages and backgrounds.

For many, the term ‘carer’ still carries stigma. A lot of parents, family members and partners don’t view their responsibilities as ‘caring’, but simply part of being family.

However, caring for a loved one can be emotionally and physically challenging, and it’s important to look after yourself. This is crucial to making sure that your own health and wellbeing remain supported as you provide a range of support for your dependent. In Richmond upon Thames, there is a vast amount of local support available to help.

Your rights as a carer

This year, Carers Rights Day will focus on raising awareness of the rights that unpaid carers have, especially in the wake of the cost of living crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a tremendous impact on carers’ lives, affecting the ability to juggle work and care, access to services and many more limitations that are still being dealt with.

Whether you are new to caring or have been looking after a loved one for a while, it’s a big priority for us to ensure you know what support you’re entitled to access and exactly how to do that.

Carer’s assessment

As a first step, we strongly encourage all carers to take a free carer's assessment, to help you think about the things that are working well for you, and to help you identify areas that can be improved.

As a carer, you are entitled to an assessment of your needs, separate from the person you care for. You do not need to be living with the person you care for to receive an assessment. This is simply a chat with us to help us understand the impact that your caring role is having on your life and how we can best support you. You may be able to get help and advice with financial concerns, your own health, practical help in the home and any worries about the future.

Young carer support

A young carer is someone aged 18 or under who helps to look after someone at home who needs extra support or care. There are many supportive resources and networks available to young people who find themselves helping to look after or worrying about someone at home who needs additional support.

Getting help in an emergency

If you look after someone who cannot look after themselves without your support, you may be worried about what would happen if you were suddenly unable to help them. The Carer's Emergency Card Scheme provides peace of mind that in the event of an emergency, the person you care for will receive help and support while you're not there.

Your health and wellbeing

If you let your GP know you are a carer, they can provide you with support to ensure you take care of your own health. This might be by offering flexible appointments and longer consultation slots for carers or, with permission, referring carers to Richmond Carers Centre and signposting them to other helpful local networks.

If you are the main carer, make sure you and your loved one are protected this winter by having the free flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster vaccine.

Self-care while caring is also an extremely important but often neglected part of a carer’s routine. In this video, former carer, author and Richmond resident Sara Challice shares her five key tips for looking after yourself while looking after a loved one.

Additional support for carers

Let us help you find some respite by viewing the full range of resources and options available to you on our website. Richmond Carer’s Centre’s latest service update provides a flavour of activities and workshops offered to carers, as well as links and news articles offered by local service providers.

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Up to: November 2022

Updated: 22 November 2022

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