Today is Carer’s Rights Day, a campaign run by Carers UK to in order to raise awareness of the struggle that many carers have to go through.
The day also aims to raise awareness amongst carers themselves, trying to ensure everyone is aware of their rights, the benefits they are entitled to and providing advice on practical support.
A survey conducted as part of today’s campaign found a third of “sandwich carers” (those who care both for a child and an elderly person) said that they had to give up work and two thirds said their marriages had been damaged.
As for the financial implications, when asked, 50% of carers said they were struggling with childcare costs and 52% said the cost of caring for an elderly relative was having an impact.
Helena Herklots, chief executive of Carers UK, said:
“An ageing population means that caring for older or disabled loved ones is inevitable for all our families.
“Care services and workplaces must catch up with this reality of family life.
“Currently, families too often cannot access the support they need and are finding themselves squeezed between childcare, care for older parents and work – under pressure from all sides, and seeing their finances, careers and personal relationships suffer.”
There are currently 6.4 million carers in the UK and future projections suggest it will be around nine million by 2037.
Despite the pressing nature of this escalation and the difficulty many carers encounter, their campaign today has received a depressingly little amount of media coverage.
It is unfortunate and understandable that today’s campaign has been drowned out by a few very heavy news days - Leveson, Palestine and by-elections to name just a few events; that being said, the coverage of this issue by the political mainstream is nowhere near enough.
MPs have tweeted in their supported to the campaign today but there is only so much a virtual 140 characters from a politician can do. They have the ability to raise the profile of this campaign simply by talking about it more, campaigning on it and pressing ministers into action.
Left Foot Forward calls on our politicians to push forward this campaign and help those who give so much to help those around them.