Carers Week runs from the 10th to 16th June 2019. This year, the focus is Getting Carers Connected.
Carers UK (2019) reports there are 6.5 million people in the UK who are carers. They will be looking after a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness, or who needs extra help as they grow older.
Caring can be a hugely rewarding experience but carers often find it challenging to take care of their own wellbeing whilst caring. Its impact on all aspects of life from relationships and health to finances and work should not be underestimated. Caring without the right information and support can be tough.
Everyone has a part to play in connecting carers and helping them to get the support they need to care without putting off their own health needs or losing important relationships with others.
What is happening in Shropshire to support carers?
Shropshire All Age Carers Strategy 2017-2021
The All-Age Carers Strategy and Action Plan for Shropshire has now been in place for two years. Partners including; health and social care providers, carers and the voluntary and community sector are working together to implement the Strategy and Action Plan. Progress is monitored through the local Family Carer Partnership Board, and reported to Shropshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board.
Five priorities have been identified through consultation and surveys with carers, local and national best practice and a local multi-agency working group. These priorities focus around the overarching aim, which is:
“Carers are supported to remain emotionally, mentally and physically well and feeling safe”
The definition of a carer in this strategy is:
“Someone of any age who provides unpaid care for another person (of any age) who may be ill, frail, disabled, have poor mental health or addiction problems, meaning they are unable to manage without this care.”
These five priorities are:
- Carers are listened to, valued and respected.
- Carers are enabled to have time for themselves
- Carers can access timely, to up to date information and advice
- Carers are enabled to plan for the future
- Carers are able to fulfil their educational, training or employment potential
Work that has taken place for 2018-2019 as a result of the strategy includes;
- Eight carer designed and led workshops called ‘Taking the Pressure Out of Caring’ were provided for family carers between September and November 2018 across Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. These had a focus on reducing stress and seeking timely support and were positively received by those attending. A further workshop for young adult carers will be provided in August 2019
- Carer telephone assessments are now offered where the carer cannot leave the person they care for
- Carers can be offered a referral to Social Prescribing. This is available in 11 GP practices across the county
- A ‘Time 4 You’ event for carers who look after someone with drug/alcohol issues event was held in September 2018, by Shropshire Drug & Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) in Public Health. Stalls included; Al Anon, Adult Social Care incl. Mental Health Social Work Team, Young Addaction, Healthwatch, Help2Change, CAP, Shropshire Recovery Partnership. Yoga, massage, music and mindfulness sessions were available
- Informal training has been provided by Adult Social Care, to help 4 x library van drivers recognise and signpost potential carers to appropriate support and advice
- Young carers from Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin have written and designed a ‘Z’ leaflet to raise awareness of young carers in educational settings
- A Mental Health Carers Working Group which is linked to the Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Carer Partnership Boards continues to meet
- Let’s Talk Local’ /Adult Social Care (ASC) sessions in hospitals in Whitchurch Community Hospital, and the Carers Café is in Oswestry (Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt) operate monthly. The Redwoods Centre has ‘Let’s talk mental health’ every week for inpatients only and their carers.
- The All-Age Carers Strategy and Action Plan can be viewed through this link.
Carers Trust4All are commissioned by Shropshire Council to offer all carers support, which includes:
- Help with future planning to be able to manage changes in family circumstances
- and care needs over time
- Home visits to provide individually tailored support and information
- Groups, activities, outings and events across the county
- Registration for an emergency replacement care service for up to three days where a carer may be unable to provide the care they usually provide due to an unplanned or emergency situation such as illness.
- Support, information and a mix of social activities for young carers
Any carer or person who feels they may be fulfilling a care role can contact Carers Trust 4 all direct for information about their services.
Carers Support helpline during office hours: 01743 341995.
All Carer emergency calls: 0333 323 1990 number option 1 and then option 6.
Carer assessments are an opportunity for carers to have a conversation with a social care practitioner about the impact caring is having on their life and what support, information and advice they may need to assist them. Assessments can be requested through Shropshire Council’s First Point Of Contact who will encourage customers to meet a practitioner at a ‘Let’s Talk Local’ appointment to discuss the options available, and also the benefits they may gain from completing a carers assessment.
‘Let’s Talk Local’ sessions and details on how to access this can be found here or by phoning the First Point of Contact on 0345 678 9044.
Shropshire Choices is a community directory, which includes information for carers. More information can be found by clicking here
Shropshire’s local offer helps families, children, young people and professionals to support those with special educational needs or disabilities to find accurate and appropriate information so that they can make positive decisions about their lives. https://shropshire.gov.uk/local-offer/