More support needed for unpaid carers

Carers’ Week is taking place June 12-18 to highlight the role of the estimated seven million carers in the UK. The aim is to help communities and organisations offer support to carers.

Care for the Carers provides support for carers in East Sussex. Strategic Partnerships Manager, Teresa Flower, said: “A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.

“Here in East Sussex there are around 60,000 unpaid carers, many of whom may be facing challenges such as stress, anxiety, loneliness and financial difficulties. Carers are also more likely to neglect their own health and wellbeing and so we work with a wide range of services, such as Sussex MSK Partnership East, who have contact with carers.”

Sussex MSK Partnership East, the local NHS service for patients with muscle, bone and joint conditions, has joined forces with Care for the Carers to encourage carers to seek support if they need it. The Patient Care Advisors, who are the first point of contact for patients, are trained to identify carers and can refer them for support.

Jo Dorrill, Integrated Care Manager for Sussex MSK Partnership East, said: “Many of our patients are either being cared for by someone or are caring for a friend or relative. We spend a lot of time talking to patients so we are alert to people who may not class themselves as carers but are looking after someone all the same. We can then guide them to Care for the Carers so they can get some appropriate support.”

For more information, or to download a free Carers’ Week pack, visit http://www.carersweek.org

Facts about carers:

• Three in five people will end up caring for someone at some point in their lives

• By 2035, 50% more people will be carers – nine million in the UK

• The value of the contribution made by carers in the UK is now £134.1 billion each year – that’s a fifth of UK Government spending (2014 -2015)

• On average, every carer looking after an ill or disabled relative saves the national economy £15,260 per year