Please take a moment to read this, then please ‘share’ on Facebook or anywhere else that you feel it may strike a chord, touch a heart or reach the right ear. Thank you.
There are over six million unpaid carers in the UK alone. They range from small children to old age, and care quietly for family, friends and neighbours. In 2006 it was estimated that this silent workforce saved the UK economy around £87 billion that would otherwise had to be spent on social and medical care.
The 31st May is a Bank Holiday in England. I, and my fellow carers, will not get a day off, nor get paid extra, or at all,… for working.
Carers are often forgotten, hidden, silent and isolated. Children who cannot learn to grow and play with their peers, because they care for their parents and siblings. Skilled and talented people who cannot work or create because their days, and often their nights, are spent caring. There is no time, nor is there energy for a social life. Holidays are rare, if ever. Careers, dreams, hopes and futures are surrendered daily, silently, to meet the needs of love.
As carers, there are ‘rights’, legislation, policies… and little support except from peer groups. Pride goes out of the window as poverty is enforced in very many cases. There is not a vast package of welfare benefits available to carers, as many people believe. Caring becomes a lifestyle. So does begging.
Carers need to be nurses, secretaries, chambermaids, housekeepers, cleaners, gardeners, taxi drivers, psychologists, counsellors, cooks, personal shopper and PA. Carers are companions, lifelines and advocates. There is no training, carers learn through neccessity.
Carers are often exhausted, get little sleep and are expected to carry on. We are human, we get lonely, frustrated, irritated.. then feel incredibly guilty because our problems are so much less than those of the person for whom we care.
Carers are at risk of depression, isolation, injury and poverty. You cannot solve all these problems, but there IS something you CAN do. Many carers find any kind of social contact difficult, through time, expense… or the fading away of their social networks. Many rely on email and phone to stay in touch and remind ourselves we are human. An empty inbox can be a body blow when you are down.
All I ask is that you look at your friends and aquaintances and identify the carers among them. I can almost guarantee that you know at least one! Then pick up the phone, write a letter, send an email, a joke, a smile and LET A CARER KNOW YOU CARE.
Please, if this makes sense to you, pass this around.