Monday 7th June marked the beginning of Carers Week 2021. Carers Week is an annual campaign that attempts to raise awareness of unpaid carers’ roles. As well as the challenges they face, and how they contribute to society as a whole.
The Covid-19 pandemic that has taken over the last year has significantly affected carers and the people they care for. Carers have taken on more and more responsibility during this time. Research has found that carers lost 25 hours, on average, of support a month they previously had from services or family and friends before the pandemic.
So for this year’s Carers Week, six charities (Carers UK, Age UK, Carers Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Oxfam GB and Rethink Mental Illness) are campaigning for the government to provide £1.2 billion for carers’ breaks that they have missed since the pandemic hit. However, based on the fact that the government has frozen the thresholds on who qualifies for state-funded care for 11 consecutive years, this may be a hard feat. Find out how you can support one campaign here.
Since the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government was voted into power in 2010, funding for social care has been stripped back dramatically, around 30% from previous decades, where funding for social care had been growing and growing. the charity direction of Age UK, Caroline Abrahams had this to say:
“This is just another example of how the social care system has been allowed to wither away and is part of a pattern of pushing more and more of the cost on to individual older people. – Freezing these thresholds means in reality older people are paying more in fees, being charged more for services and – in the case of care home residents in particular – are allowed to keep only miserly sums of money for their own personal needs, including the absolute basics of clothes, shoes and toiletries. It’s high time government made good on its pledges to fix social care once and for all.”
There have been calls for Prime Minister, Boris Johnson to reform England’s adult care system. This comes after years of cuts and empty promises.
From a Carers’ Perspective
The pandemic saw Carers’ working in care homes unable to leave their workplace or see their friends and family. This meant they were never receiving full rest breaks and lots of these hours they were at work were unpaid.
Because these overnight stays were not scheduled night shifts, carers are not entitled to minimum wage by UK law. Some employers will compensate their workers minimally for this time, while lots will not. When a worker is required to sleep on-site they do qualify for minimum wage, despite the fact that most of their sleep would be disturbed as night times are often the busiest time in care homes.
While individuals that care for family members are unpaid, they still suffered the consequences of the pandemic. Many saw respite care such as day centres and additional help cancelled or reduced with the pandemic as a reason. However, no alternative was arranged or extra funding given to support these unpaid carers.
How You Can Help
Many charities are running campaigns at the moment to put pressure on the government to revamp our social care system. You can find Age UK’s petition here. However, there are many others out there that you can find with a simple google.
How Careline Can Help
Here at Careline365, we look after people’s independence, confidence, and peace of mind. We do this by providing personal alarms to those who may be at risk of injury in their homes. These alarms are useful to older people or those with disabilities.
Our personal alarms allow people to remain in their own homes for as long as possible instead of having to move into assisted living or hiring carers, two things we have learnt can cause significant financial strain to the person in need.
Does it sound like a Careline personal alarm would be helpful to you or your loved one? To find out more about the Careline alarm service and how it can help you, read our quick guide or check out our range of products here. Alternatively, contact our friendly team online or by phone – they’ll be happy to answer any queries you may have.
You can order your Careline alarm online at any time. Prices start from just £13.89 per month.