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County council voices support for unpaid carers in Cumbria on Carers Rights Day 2020

Patricia Bell

Cumbria County Council and Carers Support Cumbria are voicing their support for unpaid carers across the county ahead of tomorrow’s national Carers Rights Day (Thursday 26 November).

The annual Carers Rights Day aims to ensure that carers are aware of their rights; to let carers know where to get help and support; and to raise awareness of the needs of carers.

The theme for Carers Rights Day 2020 is ‘Know Your Rights’ – a recent survey of nearly 6,000 carers found that four in five unpaid carers are providing more care for relatives; 78% of respondents reported that the needs of the person they care for have increased during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, and two thirds (67%) are worried about how they will cope through further lockdowns or local restrictions.

Carers need to know their rights wherever they are in their caring journey: whether they are in the workplace, in a healthcare setting, when interacting with professionals, or at home.

More than five million people in the UK are unpaid carers – someone who is looking after a relative or friend who, due to a disability, illness or old age, cannot manage at home without their help. Unpaid carers save the UK economy £132 billion a year – their support is vital to millions of people.

There are five independent charitable carers support organisations in Cumbria providing free advice and support to unpaid carers.

Research indicates there are more than 62,000 unpaid carers in Cumbria, with that figure likely to have increased during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

Every year Cumbria County Council, in partnership with the five carers organisations, urge all unpaid carers to write a ‘Carers Emergency Plan.’  This contains all the information that would be needed if the carer became ill, had an accident or needed to go into hospital at short notice.  It is vital to have all of the key information in place, including:

  • a full list of medication
  • details of any ongoing treatment or allergies
  • details of their GP and pharmacy
  • any care and support services they receive
  • any continence products needed and who supplies them
  • any mobility challenges and mobility aids such as a wheelchair or hoist
  • any behavioural issues that others may need to be aware of
  • contact details for loved ones to be notified if they have to go into hospital
  • details for who could look after a pet at short notice

Councillor Patricia Bell, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “Up and down the county, unpaid carers have been going above and beyond to support people and keep them safe in frequently challenging and distressing circumstances. I have heard many examples of compassion and selflessness and I want to thank all of them for doing such an important, and often under-recognised job.

“This Carers Rights Day, I’d urge all unpaid carers to take the time to create their own emergency plan.  The carers organisations that the county council supports around the county can help you with this, as well as help to complete benefit application forms, signposting to other agencies, and providing lots of information and advice about the local support available, including respite for you when you need it.”

To contact your local carers organisation, call 08443 843230 or visit www.carerssupportcumbria.co.uk

The county council website also has lots of information, advice and guidance for carers here: https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/healthandsocialcare/adultsocialcare/carers/carers.asp