There is a silver lining. I am pleased that the general public is seeing and hearing about the efforts of carers during the coronavirus crisis and the lack of support they receive. A recent poll by Carers UK revealed that 50% of respondents said they were more aware of unpaid carers, while 69% of respondents felt that the Government has not supported unpaid carers during the outbreak, and 65% thought unpaid carers weren’t valued.
It’s time to capitalise on this wider awareness and ensure decision-makers take notice. Right now carers need the appropriate PPE and testing to allow them to protect the wellbeing of themselves and the people they’re caring for. Age UK and the five other charities supporting Carers Week – Carers UK, Carers Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Oxfam GB and Rethink Mental Illness – are calling on the Government to do just this.
My colleague Daisy Cooney, Age UK’s Policy Manager, has been working hard to raise our serious concerns about these shortfalls. “We are closely monitoring what is happening in care around the country and listening to the experiences of people who receive and provide social care,” she explained recently. “This means we can tell the Government and social care sector about measures, including access to emergency funding, that need to be taken to keep people safe right now and in the future.”
Beyond addressing these immediate concerns here must also be a long term fix to provide a robust carer system to ensure these unsung heroes receive the support they need, with social care reform and funding that enables them to receive the support many are so in need of.
My colleagues and I will continue to do everything in our power to campaign to make this happen.