Over the last two weeks we’ve been listening to the community through our daily poll service, Mobilise Moments. Designed to keep a finger on the pulse of carers, Mobilise Moments has gathered information on lots of aspects of our current caring situations.
Our focus over the last fortnight, has been our support for carers. Exploring the impact of support on our caring situations.
As carers, our rights are protected in law. Specifically The Care Act 2014 and Children and Families Act 2014. When we asked, 63% of us weren’t confident of our rights (MM #44) and it is vital that we know what we can and cannot legitimately ask for. Take a read of Jill’s blog for a quick rundown of our rights.
The support we have
When it comes to support, we looked at the support from our local council, NHS and GPs and family and friends. Overwhelmingly we found that carers don’t believe the support they receive is very good, with the majority of all answers coming in under three, on a scale of one to five (five meaning well supported). This was particularly noticeable for support from local authorities, where one third of us rated their support as a one out of five!
Comment in our community supports this,
"they aren’t rated highly because they don’t provide anything worth praising."
said one respondent.
"[Support to me looks like] the opportunity to share the very significant load that caring represents."
Of course, all support is only as good as how well they listen to our needs and situation (which changes). We asked about whether we felt confident in being able to communicate the challenges of our caring role (MM #47), only 12.5% of us said we felt this was always possible.
Whilst most of us said that we only felt this happened sometimes. Explaining our situations multiple times can also be frustrating, so it was pleasing to see that nearly one third of us say that we mostly see the same people in relation to our role (MM #50). However, a further third of us do experience staff turnover to varying degrees, with just over 15% of us having little to no continuity. This can make challenging situations much harder.
"[Support to me looks like] time and space to be myself, a person in my own right rather than my mother’s carer."
As previously mentioned, sometimes the best medicine is simply some time off from caring. 48% of us said we didn’t get enough breaks from caring (MM #46) and only 11% of us said that we were currently accessing respite services (MM #46)
Many of us say that small actions can go a long way:
“Support for me could show up in many ways and forms. It might be someone to listen to me when I’ve had a bad or tough day. Someone preparing a meal so I don’t have to, or picking you up something from the shop. Sometimes just knowing I can call on someone if I need help.”
“A sympathetic ear and bunch of flowers every now and then. I always struggle with the term carer - I'm just being dad's daughter”
“Having contact with someone who genuinely understands your journey is extremely helpful, I didn’t want answers sometimes, I just needed someone to listen and tell me I was not going mad.”
What support would you like?
Finally, we asked: What specific support would you like local authorities to pay for, that would benefit all carers? There was a wide range of answers, but there were two key themes. Respite or breaks and financial support, either in the form of increased grants/allowance or through discounts on key services and utilities. Here's what you said:
"Some kind of relief care, to allow you to take a break occasionally."
"More help in the home, some extra respite, and first and foremost extra help financially for unpaid carers."
"Funds. Reduced prices for the dentist and prescriptions from the GPs. Money so we're not living out of savings, watching them go down and down and that it's only going to get worse."
Some of us also noted that better support for young carers and young adult carers was needed.
"More support for young adult carers at a time which works well for them as well."
Support is available
If you're looking to increase the support available to you, a free thirty-minute call with our carer support team, might unlock some solutions. Book a free call with our carer support team to chat it through. You’ll be speaking with a carer and everything is confidential.