Help carers get connected
Who’s looking after the people that look after others? It’s National Carers Week and if you’re looking after a loved one it’s equally as important to look after yourself.
There are 6.5 million carers in the UK. Half the time they probably don’t even realise they’re a carer, because they just think of themselves as helping out their mum or friend or slightly-too-important family tortoise.
Caring can be a really rewarding experience but might not leave much room for you to look after your own health and happiness. And if that’s not a massive priority for you just remember, you’re not much good to anyone if you’re totally burnt out.
The impact caring can have on your life – from relationships and health to finances and work – is huge, especially if you don’t have the right support in place.
What is a carer?
If you’re looking after a friend or relative and you’re not being paid then you’re classed as a carer. Even if you’re doing it out of the goodness of your heart, it’s actually really important that you recognise yourself as one.
You might be looking after a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness or who needs extra help as they grow older.
It could be popping round for a few hours a week to make a sandwich or help with the shopping, or it might be supporting someone 24 hours a day with things like going to the toilet, washing, doing life admin and even moving about.
Caring can be a really life-enriching thing that people are glad to do, but without the right support it can take its toll.
Enter Carers Week, an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring!
Sharing is caring
In a nutshell, the week recognises how important carers are – both for the people they’re caring for and the wider community.
It highlights the challenges they face, many of which might not be obvious but can be devastating. For example, around 61% of carers in the UK said they’d suffered physical ill health as a result of caring. Unpaid carers are also seven times lonelier than the average Brit.
This Carers Week, the focus is on getting carers connected, so sharing really is caring – helping them access support and share the burden, as well as letting them recognise how much they’re doing.
If you’re a carer
OK you’ve realised you’re a carer, which is a great first step.
There are lots of resources that can offer you support so now is the perfect opportunity to realise you’re not alone and get some help.
If you, or the person you’re caring for, is an Onward customer then we might be able to hook you up too. We may even be able to help you find a carer so the responsibility isn’t resting solely on your shoulders.
If you’re an Onward customer and need a carer
Get in touch via our customer contact centre or any other Onward team members that you have contact with, such as a Financial Inclusion Officer.
We’ll give you a call and set up an appointment with a Supported Housing Specialist to figure out the best support for you. If it’s an emergency situation the team will try and visit you on the same day to get the process going as soon as possible.
They can even visit you anywhere you feel comfortable at the first appointment if you’d feel happier somewhere other than your house.
We can then connect you to services such as MIND, GPs, social services and support providers, as well as other Onward departments like Financial Inclusion or the Hoarding team, as often it’s a multi-pronged process.
The Tenancy Support Specialist is then there with you throughout the process to make sure you’re happy and supported.
So, whether you are a carer or need a carer, give yourself a big pat on the back and then take a look around you – there might be more support out there than you realise.
Get in touch with our team to find out more about how we can help you