Health leaders across the area are asking residents to talk about their caring experiences to help make carers visible during national Carers’ Week, which runs between 8-14 June.
A carer is anyone who looks after a partner, relative or friend to help them to stay living at home, and it’s estimated there are more than 100,000 living in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
Dr David Soodeen, local GP and CCG clinical lead for mental health, explains more about why it’s important to recognise the contribution carers make to families and communities:
Carers play a vital role in taking care of the most vulnerable people in our communities, and we know that carers across the area are facing new challenges because of the coronavirus outbreak. Many people are taking on more caring responsibilities for relatives and friends who are disabled, ill or older while they need extra support.
Looking after someone can be a hugely rewarding, but it often comes with difficulties and challenges and many people helping others don’t identify themselves as carers, simply seeing themselves as partners, parents, children or friends. This means many carers do not receive vital information and support which can help them with caring and support their wellbeing.
More than ever, it’s important that we highlight the challenges faced by the more than 100,000 unpaid carers living in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, and help to promote the support which is available for them. There are some fantastic local and national organisations which provide support to carers, and carers can contact their local council for a carer’s assessment. This will look at the ways caring affects your life and establish support to help you, like breaks or carers allowances.
We would encourage people in our communities to check in with someone providing care, ask how they are coping and make sure they are aware of the support they are entitled to. Together, we can make caring visible and get more carers the information and support they need.
Information about support for carers, including carer’s assessments and local and national organisations which provide support, is available on the Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council and South Gloucestershire Council websites.
If you are shielding with vulnerable or at risk people, you can request help with shopping, medication or other essential supplies from NHS Volunteer Responders by calling 0808 196 3646 (8 am to 8pm) or visiting the NHS Volunteer Responders website.