According to Carers UK, one in six carers have had to give up or cut work to ensure their loved ones have the appropriate kind of care needed. With a significant number of carers not aware of governments benefits, this has led many to a financial crisis that could be avoid had they known about available initiatives such as the Carers Allowance.
A survey conducted by Ipsos MORI revealed that 9% of carers had to give up work and 7% have reduced their work hours to care. Nearly one third of carers interviewed are caring for over 50 hours a week and the average number of years they had cared for is 6.5 years.
On another survey, this time conducted by Carers UK, numbers were even more alarming. Over two thirds (77%) of carers surveyed cared for 50 or more hours a week, 35% of carers had missed out on State benefits because they didn’t realise they could claim them and 49% said not getting these benefits had directly affected their health, while 20% said they were struggling financially and 20% claimed they were in debt.
Last Friday – December 4th 2009 – was Carers Rights Day and over 1,500 events took place across the UK providing carers with advice and information on their finances including benefits checks and pensions forecasts.
Coinciding with the events, two new advice guides were published by Carers UK. Caring About Your Pension and Looking After Someone: A Carer’s Guide to Rights and Entitlements. Both of which can be ordered from:
* from 0808 808 7777
* by emailing email@example.com.
* or by going into any Lloydspharmacy store. To find local stores visit: www.lloydspharmacy.com
Are you currently caring for a partner, family member or even a close friend? Did you know you were entitled to these benefits? Share your experience with others and lets help spread out the word about this serious matter.
Mrs Audrey Lowe, 64, is an example to be followed by all carers; she goes beyond the call of duty, hates taking holidays and is loved by hundreds of people she visits.
Alright, maybe the holiday part is a bit too much; Mrs Lowe works for a meals-on-wheels service based at Grundy Day Centre in Wellington Road and since 2005 she has delivered thousands of meals to elderly residents in Ramsbottom and Walmersley.
Mrs Lowe delivers on average 30 meals a day but according to the people she serves, she always goes the extra mile by making brews for them, getting their post or simply by showing appreciation.
Without a doubt Mrs Lowe is an example of a carer that loves her job and is willing to make a difference in the lives of those who most needed.
As a reward to her dedication Mrs Lowe was named carer of the year by her bosses and was presented with flowers, champagne and a certificate at a ceremony held at Ribby Hall Village in Blackpool.
After receiving her award Mrs Lowe said:
“I was delighted to win. It makes you feel really appreciated and there aren’t many jobs around that you can say that about these days. I love calling in for a natter with the people. They make you feel really welcome. I wouldn’t want to do any other job.”
The Borough of Barnet in North London continues to issue parking permits for Carers to park in controlled parking zones without being fined by wardens.
So far, more than 150 special parking permits have been issued to residents who require regular home visits from District Nurses, Doctors or similar healthcare professionals. The Barnet Care and Support Service (BCASS) said the decision to continue issuing free parking permits generates a peace of mind amongst its clients.
Sarah Williams, Assistant Care Manager for BCASS, said:
“Some of the clients that we come across never seem to have a problem, and they are happy in the knowledge they can get a Carer when they need one. It means our Carers can get there when they are called and don’t have to fit their visits around parking regulations.”
The council spokesman added:
“The parking permit provides peace of mind to those caring for residents by allowing them to park their vehicles within a short distance of the residents and permit only bays.”
To require a parking permit, residents must have a confirmation of needs from their GP, fill in an application form and live within a CPZ (controlled parking zone).
For more information on how to apply for a parking permit call 0208 359 7446 or visit http://www.barnet.gov.uk/index/transport-streets/parking/permits-vouchers-and-suspensions/carers-permits.htm