Who cares for the Carers?
At a recent Central Bedfordshire Council meeting that focuses on, among other things, Social Care, a deficiency was pointed out by Councillor Paul Duckett (Conservative, Ampthill) with regards to the Council's Adult Carer Strategy.
Caring for another human being can be exhausting, both mentally and physically. It can be an insurmountable task. It can be rewarding, terrifying and heart-breaking; it can tear even the strongest families apart and anyone faced with the task needs to know, you are not alone and there are people that can help.
Central Bedfordshire Council estimates, on its website, that as much as 10% of central Bedfordshire's population are unpaid Carers, that is to say that they are "an adult who provides or intends to provide care for another adult." As defined by The Care Act 2014.
There is some help for Carers. Currently, the council is carrying out a consultation with regards to the way the social care system supports Carers. That consultation is found on the CBC website here. The consultation will end Thursday 3rd of March 2022. The consultation revolves around 4 key priorities which I'll paraphrase as identification, respite, wellbeing, and training. However, one key point was found to be missing by Cllr Duckett which you could call aftercare.
The issue highlighted was: what happens in the unfortunate event that the person someone is caring for passes away or their duties come to an end? This can be a very traumatic time for any Carer. Often unpaid Carers are family members; a spouse, a parent, a child; normally with very strong emotional bonds to those they are providing care for.
Upon scrutiny of the strategy Cllr Duckett stated:
"I think what you vocalised in here is how we're gonna help them cope […] but, what then happens is the person dies, or passes, or whatever and if the whole system just falls away from the individual whose life has become embroiled in caring, and all of a sudden everyone just goes away?"
I have personally witnessed what can happen to a Carer who has lost the person they cared for. It is harrowing to see and feel. All of a sudden that person can feel lost and without purpose. Which is why it is so important that there is help at this time. There needs to be a safety net to catch these people when they fall.
These strong, wonderful, brave people need to feel that there is some hope. Because there is. And there can be.
After the point being discussed and reiterated by the committee members, Officers responsible for the strategy agreed that this is a issue that should be taken into the consultation and that it's a possibility that there should be an extra priority going forward.
If you are a Carer in need of assistance you can find lots of information at the website Carers in Beds. You can register with the group, and they offer advice and services focused around Carers and caring for other people as well as grants that can be awarded, for such things as holidays, short breaks, training and equipment to help with daily tasks.
Also, if you do provide care for another person and you need help, do not be afraid to contact Adult Social Services, you can arrange a Carers Assessment here. If you are a parent Carer of a disabled child you can arrange a Parent Carer Needs Assessment here.