What’s Carer’s Week?
Carer’s Week, an annual awareness campaign that recognises the contribution carers make to families and to their communities, is an event that’s very close to our hearts here at Care In Kent.
There are currently over 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK, all looking after a friend or relative who is living with a mental or physical illness, or who is elderly – and providing this care impacts on every aspect of life; their relationships, their jobs, their finances, and their own health. In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, carers have found themselves facing new challenges and their struggles have become even more apparent.
In 2020 Carer’s Week aimed to raise the profile of these unsung heroes with the theme of ‘Making Caring Visible’, and this year’s 2021 campaign builds on that theme by not only recognising the amazing job they’re doing but also by valuing them for the contribution they make with ‘Making Caring Visible And Valued’.
How Can I Get Involved?
Thanks to the internet, spreading the word and showing your support has never been easier, so even with large group gatherings out of the question at the moment (particularly as carers are more likely to be in contact with someone who has a weaker immune system), there are still ways that you can reach out to carers, show them that there is help available, give them a boost to keep them going, and tell them how they can access support and information that they might not even be aware is available.
Raising Awareness Across The UK
Carer’s Week aims to raise the profile of caring in communities, helping carers to recognise themselves as such and making sure that they get all of the support and information that they need. It’s vital we show the world how important caring is! – especially after everything we’ve all been through in the past year or so!
Here are some ways that you can help raise awareness:
Get in touch with your local politicians and ask them to support Carer’s Week – this year, and the one after that……and the one after that!
Get on social media (as if you need an excuse!) – use the hashtag #CarersWeek and follow the cause on Twitter and Facebook/carers week – be sure to share the posts with your own followers!
Pledge your support on the official website: www.carersweek.org/pledge
If you provide services for carers, use Carer’s Week to promote them
Run a virtual activity like an online quiz or karaoke for carers in your local area. Other ideas include poetry or short story competitions, or a book club
Share information about Carer’s Week and caring in general with your friends and work colleagues – for all you know some of them might be unpaid carers themselves!
Recognise The Impact of Caring
There’s never been a more perfect time to focus on how important carers are to their local communities than during Carer’s Week.
If you’ve ever had to look after anyone other than yourself for even five minutes you can probably appreciate how challenging carer’s find it to take care of their own wellbeing when they’re dedicating almost all of their time to putting someone else’s needs first!
So, how can we give carers the recognition and celebration they deserve?
You could signpost carers in your community to help and support services. There are organisations that you might be a part of that come into contact with carers every day – whether you realise it or not! Examples are schools, faith and community groups, and health services.
Running an online awards ceremony is a great way to recognise and say thank you to services that support carers AND to carers themselves….plus, it’s a fantastic way to get the local community involved in Carer’s Week by asking them to nominate friends, family members, and local employers who are either caring for others or offering support to those that do.
If you have a company website, personal blog, or even just a social media account that reaches a wide audience, why not use that platform to share information about Carer’s Week and raise awareness.
Carer’s Week is the perfect time to reach out to carer’s in your community and show that you care about them.
Caring for someone else, particularly if they have a disability or are elderly requires someone to maintain a careful balancing and juggling act that over time can be incredibly stressful, and can lead to carers feeling isolated, stressed and overwhelmed.
Ways to reach out and support carers within your community could include:
– Inviting experts to share their knowledge online or through a virtual event that can be attended by carers and prove a useful tool for sharing stories and experiences, as well as learning new techniques to help with the practical side of caring for someone else, such as diet and nutrition.
– An online quiz night can be a fun way for carers within your community to socialise and take some time out for themselves while meeting people who are in the same situation as themselves.
– Run an online exercise class, painting class, creative writing class…..whatever your passion is, sharing it with carers in your area who might not otherwise have an outlet for their creativity can be a rewarding and much-needed way to recognise and support unpaid carers.
Carer’s Week could just be the springboard to inspire you, your business, your community group, or your family to show your support and recognition to carers in your area…..why stop at a week!? That online book club, coffee morning, or chat forum could prove so popular that you want to be involved all year round, providing support and some respite to those who really need it. Just think about what you could start!
Care In Kent are always on hand to offer support to carers in the form of at-home care, including running errands, or a little respite care when you need to take some time out (or perhaps do that online quiz!) For more information get in touch with a member of our dedicated team.