Council launches campaign to identify 'invisible army' and provide support
There are over 22,000 carers living in the borough. Picture: Carersweek.org
To mark Carers Week this year, Hounslow Council has launched a campaign to identify the army of ‘invisible’ carers across the borough to ensure they get the help and support they need.
There are over 22,000 carers that live in the borough who support a family member or friend whether they are older, disabled or seriously ill, but many are doing it alone and are unaware of the support they can access.
Hounslow Council runs a Carers Assessment programme and anyone who feels that the help and care they provide is taking its toll, are being urged to get in touch.
Cllr Candice Atterton, Cabinet Member for Adults, Social Care and Health, explained, “Carers across Hounslow are holding families together, enabling loved-ones to get the most out of life, making an enormous contribution to society and saving the economy billions of pounds.
“Yet many are stretched to the limit – juggling care with work and family life, or even struggling with poor health themselves.
“Many carers may find themselves caring for someone suddenly and don’t know where to go for help. They may not realise they are an unpaid carer.
“Carers week is an opportunity to encourage more people to identify themselves as carers and get the support they need.”
Hounslow resident, Sefali has been looking after her parents for the last 15 years.
She supports them to get out of bed, preparing meals, administering medication and supporting them to get exercise.
She wasn’t aware she was an unpaid carer until she saw an advert in a doctor’s surgery which explained what an unpaid carer was. With encouragement from a friend, she called up social services and became officially recognised as a carer.
Sefali, who juggles looking after her parents with her job as a yoga teacher, reiterates how important it is to get a carers assessment.
She says, “It's important to be recognised as a carer because if you're on your own, what you do as a carer becomes absorbed into what you think might be ‘normal familial responsibilities’.
“I definitely advise people to have a carers assessment. I wish I took it sooner.
“I left being officially recognised as a carer until I was at my breaking point - you don't have to make the same mistake.”
The support she now receives from Hounslow Council enables Sefali to have break for herself which is crucial.
She added, “The carers short breaks service has allowed me to appreciate the distinction between what caring duties are and what simply looking after your parents is.
“It gives me a structured break from the round-the-clock attention my parents need.”
Hounslow Council has a programme of free activities and support for carers during carers week. For more information on Carers Week visit: Carers Week 2021 (7 to 13 June) – CarePlace
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June 8, 2021