Carers’ Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of those family members and friends who are caring for others in our communities and who are playing such a vital role during this pandemic.
The week highlights the challenges facing many unpaid carers. These are the family members and friends who support someone with a disability, health condition, mental health or drug/alcohol issue, and their invaluable contribution is being emphasised by Torbay Carers Service at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.
This year’s Carer’s Week theme is ‘Making Caring Visible’ and during COVID-19, Carers in Torbay, South Devon and across the country have been relied upon more than ever, but without special recognition. Many also remain ‘hidden’, seeing themselves as ‘just’ a good neighbour or family member, or it may be that they have had to take on more of a caring role than normal because of the pandemic.
Katy Heard, Carers Lead for the Trust, said: “Since having the national Clap for Carers earlier in the crisis, we wanted to raise the profile of unpaid Carers, and particularly wanted to thank them for their amazing contribution at this time.”
Many carers are missing out on much-needed breaks from their caring roles as services, such as community opportunities, day care or short-stays in care homes have not been running as normal during the pandemic. For young carers and young adult carers the closure of their school or college has also prevented them from having a break.
For some carers, this has meant spending all day, every day, at home with someone with dementia, a learning disability or autism who often cannot understand social distancing, why people are wearing masks or why they cannot keep to their normal routine, which can lead to behavioural disruption.
Parents of a child with a disability may have had to juggle trying to support that child, whilst trying to home-school other children – a challenge at the best of times. We know that this has also been a tough time for people with mental health issues and their carers. We need to support and encourage all carers to look after their own wellbeing and mental health.
With most of the originally-planned events postponed, Torbay Carers’ Service does not want to miss the opportunity to celebrate Carers Week and say ‘a huge well done and thank you to all those unsung heroes, who have kept going throughout this crisis. We appreciate you.’
Carers can join a range of online events including photo competitions for best decorated cake, poem, photo, garden in bloom; an online quiz; yoga; stress management; coffee morning/sing along; and a virtual tour of Windsor Castle. Full details of activities are on the Facebook page or via this link.
Torbay Carers Service are particularly keen to reach those carers who are currently unknown to them. Natalie Townsend, Carers Services & Emotional Support Scheme Co-ordinator at the Trust, said: “There is a huge range of support available including; back-up planning, 1-1 and emotional support, technology and much, much more. So, if you are caring for a family member or friend and would like to find out more or join one of our on-line events, just give Torbay Carers Services a call on (01803) 666620, firstname.lastname@example.org and Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust website at www.tsdft.uk/carers or ‘TorbayCarers’ Facebook page at this link.
If you care for someone who lives in wider Devon County, Carers Services are provided by Devon Carers, and their Carers Week activities are available via this link.
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