ARTICLE FOR THE BUCKS ADVERTISER AND EXAMINER
BY RT HON DOMINIC GRIEVE, QC, MP
Although the results of a survey to show what life is like for carers in the UK is about to be published – as part of Carers Week, from 13-19 June – refreshingly, it is not too late for any carer to have their say about what being a carer means to them.
Carers Week is the annual event which recognises the contribution made throughout the UK by people who provide unpaid care for family members.
There is no such person as a typical carer. Carers can be any age, from any background and from a wide variety of circumstances, including perhaps being in poor health themselves.
What we do know is that there are about six million carers and, staggeringly, the care they provide is estimated to amount to some £119 billion every year.
The range of organisations involved in Carers Week speaks for itself about the many aspects of caring. They are: Age UK, Carers UK, Counsel and Care, Crossroads Care, Dementia UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, MS Society, Parkinson’s UK and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers.
There will be a wide range of events across the UK in Carers Week to support carers and make sure that they get the information they need about the services that are available.
Any carer can take part in the survey, or feed in their views about any aspect of caring, by emailing Carers Week on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The survey questions are:
1. If you had to write a job description for being a carer, which three attributes or skills would you consider to be most important?
2. What have you found most surprising about your role as a carer?
3. What impact has caring had on ambitions or aspirations you had before you became a carer?
The website, www.carersweek.org, has many resources, including information for employers on ways they can support carers within their organisation.
Carers are vital to our community. This awareness-raising week reminds us all that carers are there, not just one week, but every week in the year.