The number of people providing unpaid care is growing every year. It is estimated that there are a staggering 13.6 million people caring through the pandemic and many do not access the support they are entitled to.
A key barrier to accessing this essential support is identification, by professionals and carers themselves.
Those working in primary care and the third sector have an opportunity to help them recognise the gravity of their role and how to access support.
1. Avoid the label
Many people don't see themselves as carers - they are simply mum, husband, daughter, friend and so on. By using language they relate to and by recognising their relationship with the person being cared for is a simple, yet effective step in helping them access support.
Our services are available to anyone looking after a partner, friend, child or family member that couldn't manage without their support. People don't need to identify with the term carer, they just need to recognise that they have extra responsibilities and can have support.
2. Take time to listen
People with caring responsibilities often tell us they feel invisible and unheard. Taking five minutes to ask how they are doing, and giving them a private, non-judgemental space to talk can make a huge difference.
This can enable them to open up about the challenges of caring for someone, helping you identify where they could use support.
3. Be non-judgemental
Caring can have a huge impact on someone's health and wellbeing, yet they can feel guilty for seeking support.
They may not want the person they care for to feel like a burden, or to feel like they're not up for looking after their loved one. There are lot's of reasons why they may not want to reach out.
Offering a non-judgemental safe space to confide, can be life-changing.
4. Ask about their day
An easy way to understand what their caring role entails is to simply ask about their day. Talking about the multiple tasks they complete day to day can bring to light the pressures and challenges they may be facing. This is a useful conversation that can lead to support.
5. Offer support
Sometimes just having someone else (especially a professional) asking them what they need, can be the positive change in their situation.
It is possible that you are the first person that has recognised the gravity of their caring role, if you have the opportunity to offer a route to support, we encourage you to do so.
Make a referral
If you have identified a carer, see if they would like a referral made on their behalf to The Carers' Centre. They will be able to access a range of fantastic and free services to support them.
Read our latest news
Hear the latest stories and news from The Carers' Centre