Capturing the COVID- 19 experience of Unpaid Carers in Angus in Angus
National Carers Week is an annual national campaign which aims to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognize the contribution that they make to families and communities throughout the UK.
This year’s theme is “Making Caring Visible”, in order to highlight the contribution made by unpaid carers of all ages and to give them the opportunity to report how COVID-19 has affected their caring role.
Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, it was recognised that unpaid caring could lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation as well as bringing huge challenges trying to balance work and caring commitments. Post pandemic, the social isolation caused by shielding and social distancing has meant that some carers are now without their own support networks, increasing to their burden.
Peter Burke, the Carers Representative on Angus Integration Joint Board (IJB) said, “Only about 3,000 out of the estimated 19,000 unpaid carers in Angus receive any type of formal support. We want to raise awareness among the general public to identify who are the unsupported, unpaid carers. Many may reject the label of ‘carer’, so we want to ask, ‘do you provide support to someone who would not cope without it?’ If the answer is yes, then you’re an unpaid carer, and we want you to get involved.”
Gail Smith, interim Chief Officer of the Angus Health and Social Care Partnership (AHSCP), said, “According to Carers Trust Scotland, 3 in 5 people in Scotland will provide care to a family member or friend at some point in our lives. Without carers, the health and social care system would likely cease to be as successful.
“We know there are many residents across Angus who don’t recognise that they are carers and feel they are simply carrying out ordinary responsibilities as a family member or friend, yet the role they play cannot be underestimated.
“The difference they make to peoples’ lives has taken on an even greater significance since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic so I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all our carers.”
Events this week are aimed at demonstrating to carers that they are recognised, valued and supported as equal partners in care. There will also be information provided to help friends, family and colleagues have a greater understanding of how to support carers at this particularly challenging time.
Jerry Forteath, AHSCP lead officer for the Carers Strategy in Angus said, “The pandemic has given us all an opportunity to consider our relationships with others, and what’s really important in life. We’ve celebrated the contribution of NHS and Social Care but risk losing sight of the millions of unpaid carers who support others unconditionally. Now it’s time to stop and recognise unpaid carers for the self-less care they freely give.”
Angus Carers Voice Network (ACVN), supported by Angus Carers Centre is encouraging anyone who is an unpaid carer in Angus to add their story to the “Capturing the COVID- 19 experience of Unpaid Carers in Angus” which can be found at https://www.anguscarers.co.uk. You can also find out more about their Digital Carers Week events here as well.
Cllr Lois Speed, Chair of the IJB, said, “As a carer myself, I know very well how challenging caring is on a day to day basis. Although my caring role is very rewarding and a real privilege, I recognise that even at the best of times, caring can be demanding. However, during the pandemic, we’ve all found the increased isolation and the inability to share the caring role extremely challenging. I would encourage anyone caring to invest a bit of time in themselves this week to share their experiences and to have what they do recognised.
Unpaid carers can find out more about the many organisations locally who provide support and represent their rights at: