Supporting carers in their vital role

14 June 2019

This Carers Week (June 10th to 16th), local health and care services are urging everyone to support carers in getting the practical, financial and emotional help they need.

A carer is anyone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member who has a disability, mental or physical illness, substance misuse problems or needs extra help as they age.

Carers can be of all ages. For some, the role can come on suddenly as a result of accident or the birth of a disabled child. For others, caring responsibilities can grow gradually over time.

At the last census in 2011, Kent had more than 151,000 carers, around 10% of the population. This number is expected to rise to 171,000 by 2020.

While caring can be a rewarding experience, carers face various health inequalities as a result of their responsibilities, such as emotional and mental health problems. Looking after a relative can particularly impact on young carers’ education, health and development.

Kent County Council and the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups recognise it is vital to support carers and jointly invest in services providing practical and emotional support.

This includes short breaks, in which carers’ dependents are looked after to give them time to go to health appointments, reconnect to family and look after their own wellbeing. There are also direct payments to spend on things which make caring easier.

People can also become Shared Lives Hosts, opening up their homes to adults with learning, physical disabilities or other impairments. They can provide vital support for unpaid carers by providing short breaks, day support or long term care.

Children aged between 5 and 18 who care for someone at home are supported by a dedicated service delivered by Imago. This can include 1 to 1 support, respite activities and events and in-school support groups.

This Carers Week, businesses and communities are also urged to consider ways in which they could become more accessible to carers.

For more information, please visit the KCC website.