This week is Carer's Week, did you know that? I didn't until today when I walked into work and there were posters and leaflets everywhere advertising the fact and signposting the way to support. I was genuinely startled to learn that there are approximately 6.4 million carers in the UK today and approximately half of those combine work with caring responsibilities: I am one of those three million. I look after my disabled daughter with my husband and I also work .
I never expected to become a carer, nor when I did did I realise what an impact this would have on my physical and mental well being. My needs are second to my child's; actually my needs are my lowest priority...
An on line survey was undertaken by nearly 3400 carers looking at the impact of caring on the carer's health and well-being. The results were released in a report "In Sickness and Health" and demonstrate that caring has a negative impact on their physical (83%) and mental health (87%), with 57% experiencing mental illness and 36% having sustained an injury, for example back pain, as a result of caring.
It got me thinking:
I am 1 of 6.4 million carers.
I am 1 in 3 million working carers.
I am within the 57%.
I can relate to the 36%.
I am not alone.
I care and do so because I love my daughter, because it matters and is important and is necessary. I can't and won't stop caring for her, no matter what, no matter the cost to myself because of the love I have for her: she is my flesh and blood. Carers care for those they love, pure and simple, and that is where the Government have us over a barrel when it comes to cuts in services- we will not argue, we will not strike, we will carry on regardless until we can carry on no more. But who will care for us then, when we are spent and done? By then it will be too late; carers need cared for too, in the here and now, physically, mentally, spiritually and socio-economically. Where does this start? The research is clear - by looking after ourselves, the carers.
Are you a carer?
Who cares for you?
What simple thing would make a difference to your life?
Do you know where to find help and support?
If you are struggling, think about talking to your GP - they could be holding your lifeline.