For Carers Awareness Week 2019 I made it my task to dig deep and try to find what support is available to help us care for our unpaid carers. You know, those people so filled with love and compassion that they save the NHS £132 billion a year according to a recent study by Carers UK and the University of Sheffield. CarersWeek.org tells us that carers are 7 times lonelier than the general population with 61% reporting having suffered poor physical health as a result of caring. This shouldn’t be surprising considering caring for someone unsupported is known by Carers UK to cause ill health, poverty and isolation. So with that in mind, here’s all the support I could find.
GOV.UK – Depending on a Carers Assessment performed by your local council you may be entitled to some respite. This website link can also give you information on childcare, education, the mobility scheme and home adaptions.
Home-Start – A charity that provide compassionate support through volunteers that can help you to get some respite whether that be with a listening ear, someone to read the little one a book whilst you get on top of the house or help with managing finances. Home-Start describes itself as a community of trained volunteers and experts to support you.
SENHOOD Private Facebook Group – Having found a serious lack of services I recommend you join the Facebook group made especially for parent carers of children with special needs and disabilities. Ask questions, share your little ones progress or have a rant – we’re all there for you.
Carers UK Online Forum – Aswel as being the go to for help and advise and campaigning for change for carers, they also have an online forum to ask questions.
Mind – provide support and services to improve your mental health.
If you search google for ‘carers counselling *insert your city*’ I would hope it would come up with something in your area as I have come across VOCAL in Edinburgh, Lets Talk Wellbeing for Nottingham and Leicester, Carer Federation for Nottingham and Action for Families in Essex.
Carers Allowance – Upto £66.15 per week for caring for someone over 35 hours a week (certain requirements).
Turn2us Grant Search – Here you can find charities who offer grants based on your circumstances such as Family Fund and React. Enter your childs details and disabilities in the search.
The Money Advise Service – This link will take you to a website with advise on DLA, PIP, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Cold Weather Payments, Child Tax with Disability and more.
Contact – These are a fabulous charity for families of children with disabilities. This page link tells you about warm home discount and capping your water bill.
Carer Smart – Offers, benefits and discounts just for carers and people with care needs by Carers UK.
CEA Card – This entitles carers to a free cinema ticket to accompany a disabled visitor. (£6 a year)
Essential Companion Card – This gives free entry to one or two carers or companions to any National Trust grounds.
Many people have suggested making contact with venues, events and services before to ask “Do you support carers..” to find out about discounts and offers/concessions they may have. Individuals have reported free football matches, theatre shows and theme park entry.
Despite going into this determined to find help and share it with the world, I have been disappointed at the outcome. Though it may help some and I sure hope it does. Hours of trolling the internet to find two options for practical help; one of which has extreme criteria and a lengthy application process, and not one nationwide psychological support service is disheartening. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough or maybe one slipped through the net but should it really be this difficult?
With Mental Health being a well talked about and recognised discussion these days you would think there would be more emotional support for parents who care for their children with disabilities. It’s not a shocking concept to put together the idea that someone who has received a life-changing diagnosis for their child which they have no control over and can often include an unknown life expectancy and prognosis needs emotional support. Add to that the physical demands of their care; pharmacy collections, medication orders and administrations, therapies, appointments, paperwork, research.. the job of an unpaid carer and the weight they carry is unquantifiable.
It may seem like there’s a fair bit of financial support, it definitely trumps the other two. However when you consider the fact that a new study by Scope revealed that parents of children with a disability would on average have to pay an additional £581 a month just to have the same standard of living as a family without a disability to fund it doesn’t touch the surface.
“If even a small percentage of people were unable to continue caring, the economic impact would be catastrophic. Worryingly, we are edging towards this possibility, as the pressure on families to provide more care with less support is intensifying.”– A warning from Carers UK’s Chief Executive Heléna Herklots
If you have found this blog has helped, please click the like button. If you’ve read it and have other services you have used or recommendations then please do comment below on the blog so that other readers can see that too.
For the reality of caring for a child with disabilities take a read of To those parenting a child with medical needs. or if you’ve got time to kill you can read back on all blogs at thenursemum to ride the rollercoaster.