West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group is supporting this week’s Carers Week campaign to help people develop an understanding of just how important carers are in the community.
For the past year across Leicestershire a scheme known as the Carer Health and Wellbeing Service, has been assisting carers with face to face advice and information in order to keep them well and help them feel supported. Financed by the Better Care Fund, the scheme is jointly commissioned by West Leicestershire and East Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Groups and Leicestershire County Council and is run by Voluntary Action South Leicestershire.
A carer in Hinckley has been supported by the Carer Health and Wellbeing Service and talking about his experience he said: “I care for my elderly mother who has dementia. I have to balance this with a part time job and sometimes I’ve felt totally drained and exhausted. I went to a carers support group at the local community centre and found it really invaluable to me to know who to speak to. They suggested that I went along to my GP surgery to one of the carers clinics and since then I’ve accessed some really invaluable advice from one of the local advisers.”
Within the UK there are 6.5 million people caring unpaid for an ill, frail or disabled family member or friend. Latest figures show that one in 10 people will be a carer at some point in their lives which is up from previous estimates of 70,000 carers across Leicestershire. Many carers are unpaid and often unsupported and unrecognised. Evidence shows that caring can cause ill health, poverty and social isolation. When caring is intensive and unsupported people can struggle to hold down a job and carry out your usual daily activities. Many carers are not aware that under the Care Act they now have a right to request an assessment of their own support needs.
Gillian Adams, lay board member for patient and public engagement at West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group said: "During Carers Week it is important that we recognise the true value provided by carers and think about the impact on people if that care was not there. We must look after carers and remind them that if they are caring for a friend or loved ones they should let their GP know. GPs can offer health checks and appointments that fit in with the carer’s situation. It can also trigger advice services through the Carer Health and Wellbeing Service that will help carers to access information about respite support available in your local community.”
Pat Wilkins, of Voluntary Action South Leicestershire, said: "For many people every week is carers week. Raising awareness is really important and this year we are holding carers month across June with a series of events where people can come along and find out about all the support available to carers.”
“During Carers Week we are taking our mobile carers display to Sainsburys in Market Harborough and also to Lutterworth where the Leicestershire Carers Choir are playing at the picnic in the park. To find out more about the information stands that we will be running across our counties throughout June and also about the support that we can offer our website is at carerswellbeing.org, or follow us on Facebook.”
There are events taking place all over the UK to involve carers and make them aware of the support and services available. For more information about Carers Week see http://www.carersweek.org/