Carers Week: Supporting Carers in our Communities

As it's Carers Week this month, we're highlighting the challenges carers face and where to find support if you're caring for someone else.


As it's Carers Week this month, we're highlighting the challenges carers face and where to find support if you're caring for someone else.

Now more than ever, caring for one another has become an important part of day-to-day life. The recent events surrounding Coronavirus have prompted many more people to take on caring roles in their communities, helping vulnerable family, friends and neighbours. But while it may be a new experience for some, for many people caring is a normal part of life. Hopefully, the recent surge in community caring will make everyone stop to think about the people who already care for others, day in day out. With Carers Week starting on 8th June, we want to help raise awareness of the challenges carers face and support them in the incredible work they do throughout the UK.

What is a carer?

A carer is an unpaid person that looks after someone else who needs extra support in their daily life. Carers UK estimate that there could be around 8.8 million carers in the UK, with their activities saving the government billions in social care costs.

Anyone could find themselves becoming a carer. The role can include anything from regularly popping to the shops for someone or helping them cook, to providing round the clock care and support. Typical examples of caring relationships are:

  • Children looking after elderly parents
  • Parents caring for children who are disabled or have health problems
  • Young carers supporting parents with disabilities or health conditions

Many people don’t even realise they’re a carer. They simply see what they’re doing as part of being a good relative, friend or neighbour and helping out someone in need. In fact, if you are a carer, you’re making an incredible contribution to the person or people you support and to society as a whole. Sadly, people in caring roles often don’t get the recognition and support they both deserve and need.

Challenges and wellbeing

While caring can be incredibly rewarding, it can also take a physical, mental and financial toll on someone over time. Many carers juggle jobs and families in addition to their caring responsibilities which can be stressful and exhausting. Access to support and services for the person who is vulnerable and for the carers themselves can also be difficult.

It’s hardly surprising then, that last year’s State of Caring Report shows that carers’ happiness scores are over one third lower than that of non-carers. While almost a third of carers struggling with financial problems, with two thirds having to fund aspects of a loved one’s care themselves. This year’s survey has just closed, so it will be interesting to see how the Coronavirus outbreak has affected people in terms of their caring responsibilities and the increased strain on services.

Caring for Carers

It’s important to recognise and value to role of carers in our communities and the difficulties they face, especially those who undertake long-term or full-time caring roles. If you’re looking after someone and need emotional and practical support, there are lots of organisations who can help. Some useful websites are:

If your loved one has a specific condition (such as dementia) there may also be support available from organisations dedicated to helping people with that particular health issue, so it’s worth looking into those too.

Respite care - taking time for yourself

Many carers are reluctant to take time off or worry about leaving the person they look after with someone else.  But if you need to take a break and enjoy some well-deserved ‘me time’, it’s worth looking into getting good respite care. There may be charities near you who offer a respite care service you may be entitled to. Alternatively, a professional care agency like Bluebird Care can match you with the right Care Assistant to support your loved one while you take a rest. Having someone reliable, compassionate and well-trained to step in when you need them gives you peace of mind that, while you’re away, the person you care for is in safe hands. That leaves you able to give yourself some much-needed time and attention.

As a homecare agency, we know how important carers are and respect the hard work they do in every community across the country. So, if you need respite care services in Bromley and the South East London area, or any other help with care at home, our Bluebird Care team are on hand to help. Just get in touch for a chat with our friendly home care managers to see how we could support you.