Making Dorset carers visible
During this year’s Carers Week (8-14 June) Dorset HealthCare is asking local unpaid carers to recognise the value of what they do – and remember to look after themselves.
The theme of the week is ‘Making Carers Visible’, and the Trust will be celebrating their massive, but sometimes overlooked, contribution to our communities with a host of online events and awareness-raising activities.
A carer can be someone of any age, in paid work or not, who supports a friend or family member with an illness, disability, frailty, mental health issue or substance misuse problem. It is estimated Dorset has around 83,000 unpaid carers.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many carers will be going through an especially challenging time, and it’s important they seek help when they need it and open up about their own health and wellbeing.
To support this, the Trust, together with BCP Council, Dorset Council, Dorset CCG, Dorset County Hospital, The Royal Bournemouth and Poole NHS Trusts, Carer Support Dorset and Rethink, will be sharing experiences of carers in Dorset and providing information on what support is available during this difficult time.
During the week a host of virtual events will also take place, including tea parties, cooking sessions and bingo.
A range of activities and ideas of things to do at home, as well as tips on looking after yourself as a carer, can be found here.
Dorset HealthCare is also encouraging people to print off the Carers Week logo and place it in their window during the week. This will help show all carers that everyone values what they do, and that they are not alone.Download a template here.
Pat Wilkins, Carers Development Lead at the Trust, said:
“Across Dorset, many people are taking on more caring responsibilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They need to be recognised for the difficulties they are experiencing and respected for all they are doing. So during this year’s Carers Week, we ask that you celebrate what they do.
“Many people do not even identify themselves as a carer because it is something they just do. You are all doing a wonderful job taking care of others, but please remember to be kind to yourself, as you are also important.
“We can provide support and advice via video call, while signposting to relevant information. Please remember we are here for you, now and always.”
Joy Ford, aged 77 from Stalbridge, near Shaftesbury, cares for her daughter, although she just sees herself as mum. She said:
“When you love someone and they become unwell and need help to manage their life, be it physical or emotional support, it is an automatic instinct to help them.
“You don't think of yourself as a carer, you are helping someone you love. Others may think of you as a carer, but you are first a partner, parent, grandparent, sibling or friend. ‘Carer’ is a secondary name we accept as a generalisation of what we do.”
To find out how Dorset HealthCare and other local organisation can support you as a carer, visit: www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/carers