With the UK’s weekly “clap for carers” now a somewhat distant memory, Carers Week 2021 (which runs between 7-13 June) has become even more important to acknowledge and champion.
But whilst the purpose of “clap for carers” was to show an appreciation for the work undertaken by NHS staff and key workers during the pandemic, the focus of Carers Week 2021 is to highlight the work done by unpaid carers and the contributions they make to their families and communities.
The work undertaken by family members in a carer’s capacity is something that I, as a Continuing Healthcare solicitor, am all too familiar with. It is quite often the case that an individual is only admitted into a care home once the care that has been provided by their family at home has become insufficient in meeting that individual’s needs. For periods that can span a number of years, spouses, children and extended family members provide care that ranges from assistance with physical needs, such as mobilising to mental health and psychological support. Sadly, it is quite often the case that the caring responsibilities falling on these family members do so at the expense of their own health, relationships and careers.
It is estimated that there are 13.6 million unpaid carers in the UK today, with an additional 4.5 million unpaid carers being identified in the UK since the beginning of the pandemic. With the failure of successive governments to provide social care reform, this number is only likely to rise as the responsibility of caring for elderly relatives falls to family members. The pandemic has provided the opportunity to reflect on the vital work that is performed by unpaid carers. It is so important that this reflection and gratitude continues and so please, therefore, do what you can to help raise awareness of the tireless work that is done by unpaid carers during Carers Week 2021.
For more information, visitwww.carersweek.org.