Who is a Carer?
A carer is anyone unpaid who cares for a friend, family member, or loved one incapable of coping without support. Carers can be spouses, grandchildren, cousins, or anything in between. There are about 7 million carers in the UK today, over 10% of the population, and almost 3 in 5 people act as carers at some point in their lives. What’s more is that the number of carers is estimated to grow by 3 million over the next two decades. The personal contributions of carers produce a staggering £132 billion worth of value, which is comparable to the total NHS funding in the UK.
Even more importantly, carers fill an important role in national healthcare and wellness, as it is often very difficult for the ill to support themselves financially, even with the help from the NHS. Carers are unpaid by definition, and almost half the caring population juggles this responsibility with either full-time or part-time employment. Chances are, you know a carer around you, whether that is in the workplace or in your family; why not take the opportunity of Carers Week to approach them and speak about their experiences as a carer?
Why Should We Care?
Carers provide irreplaceable value to people all across the country, yet they still fail to be sufficiently compensated. The Carer’s Allowance is the main subsidised benefit, and it only provides £64.60 for a minimum of 35 hours. Many people also spend more time in care than a standard work week, with over 1 million caring for at least 50 hours on a weekly basis. This level of work relative to compensation, in conjunction with the stressful and difficult nature of the job, is significantly detrimental to the health condition of carers.
This is reflected in some shocking statistics — as a result of caring, 72% of carers suffer from poor mental health, and 61% of carers report poor physical health. Carers are thus more than twice as likely to suffer from health conditions than the population average. Given this, we have some tips for you this Carers Week to help continue supporting the work that carers do for all of us, and to repay them for the sacrifices they make.
How to Help
One of the best ways to get involved is to get in touch with a carer you know and give them your time and open ears. As carers often feel socially isolated and burdened as a result of their work, helping them open up could mean a world of difference for carers.
As a business, you can pledge on the Carers Week website to connect carers in your workforce to special opportunities, and create a culture of support for their wellbeing. You can also donate directly to carers’ support at Carers UK, a not-for-profit organisation that provides help and benefits for carers.
At Healthera, we focus our work on meaningful services that improve the patient experience. For supporting those in need of care, our app has a “Dependents” feature, which allows patients to order medicines for loved ones as easily as for themselves. Carers can place the repeat requests of their dependents via the Healthera Mobile App, and collect the medications at any convenient Healthera Partner Pharmacy.
Carers spend much of their time out of the spotlight and always put in the effort to help out those in need around them. So, for Carers Week, let’s put them back in the spotlight they deserve to fully appreciate and recognise all the amazing work they do for their families, friends, and communities!