Published 8th November 2023
This month Carers Rights Day will be held to raise awareness of the rights of unpaid carers. But Carers Matter Norfolk are asking people across the county to come together to address the biggest barrier to many carers getting support.
While people looking after a family member or friend are entitled to support, more than 70% of people who are caring for someone, or have done previously, do not recognise themselves as a carer. This often means they do not get support they need – impacting their health and wellbeing, and affecting their ability to care for the person they look after.
While people such as GPs do help people realise they are a carer and can get support, research earlier this year showed friends or family members are the most likely people to help people realise they are a carer and can get support.
This is why we at Carers Matter Norfolk are asking people to think who they know – friends, family, neighbours and colleagues – who provides support to someone, and to make sure they realise that as a carer they can get help. This can prevent people feeling they have to do it all by themselves, or reaching a crisis point where it all becomes too much.
Vicky Jones, programme director of Carers Matter Norfolk, said, “More than three in five of us will become a carer at some point in our lives. And there are more than 80,000 unpaid carers in Norfolk. So, most of us will have a friend or family member who is looking after someone. That could be due to long-term illness, a disability, frailty or for mental health reasons.
“Being a carer can be extremely rewarding but also incredibly hard – there are physical, emotional and financial impacts which often take their toll on the carer over time.
“At Carers Matter Norfolk we are here to provide advice and support for people looking after another adult. We really want to make sure unpaid carers get the support they need.
“Many times when people contact us, it is the first time someone has spoken to them about the help they need, not only what can be done to support the person they are looking after.
“They may be worried, exhausted and not sure who to turn to. Or they may be early on in their caring role and wanting to make sure they know how to have the support they need in place. Whatever their caring situation, we can help.”
While we at Carers Matter Norfolk take referrals from professionals, such as people working in health care, a referral from a professional isn’t required. People can simply contact us here at Carers Matter Norfolk to talk through the support they need.
Vicky said, “At times people are so focused on the needs of the person they are supporting they do not recognise that they need or would benefit from help. Or realise that help is available.”
Carers Rights Day is on Thursday 23 November making this a very appropriate month for people to be thinking about who they know who is a carer. But carers often also face challenges through winter months and due to changes to their routine and normal services through the Christmas period.
You can contact Carers Matter Norfolk by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0800 083 1148.
If you would like to request free leaflets or posters for use in letting people know about the support available from Carers Matter Norfolk you can visit carersmatternorfolk.org.uk/resources