Carers: The Glue in Families

November 25, 2013

What’s the glue that binds us together ?

It’s the care and support we give each other. But for some, care is more than simple kindness, it’s day to day help to get Dad up and dressed, its advocating for Mum in the bank – and for some – giving up work or education to care full time. For all carers it’s about a lot of juggling.

That’s why I’m really pleased each year Carers Rights Day gives us all a chance to raise the profile of caring, to help people recognise themselves as carers and to highlight what is available locally. It’s a time to celebrate the contribution the city’s 25,000 carers make.

At the City Council, we are clear carers are particularly vital to social care in helping to promote independence, choice and control. Happy and connected families are also crucial to vibrant and sustainable neighbourhoods. This is why we consult carers as part of our statutory Annual Account of Adult Services and fully recognise the growing role of young carers too.

For Carers Rights Day, 2013 – 29 November – we will be holding two free events – a “techy tea party” at City Library, between 10am – 2 pm, providing a fun opportunity to try out computers, tablets and smart phones in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. YHN will also showcase technology they can provide to help keep people they cared for safe. Between 10am – 3pm, in Grainger Market (public space), the Carer’s Social Work Team; Barnardo’s young carers; Carers Centre Newcastle; Welfare Rights; Jobcentreplus and British Red Cross will staff a stall providing 1-2-1 advice. There’s a chance to chat to other people in similar situations over a cuppa.

This Friday is a chance to reflect on some difficult statistics for the city. The Newcastle Future Needs Assessment tells us: 40% of carers experience physiological distress or depression, 2,234 young people (0-24) provide unpaid care and older carers, who report strain, have a 63% greater likelihood of death. Caring responsibilities also vary within the city. In Walker, there were over 450 people providing more than 50 hours of care, compared to about 50 in North Jesmond. And this is just what we know ….