Written by welfare officer Lindsey Churchill (pictured above).
Farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in the UK – fact. As welfare officers, we meet people with physical and/or mental health problems every day of the week and we work with them and other agencies to help them overcome the difficulties that that they encounter. We help people find practical, emotional and financial solutions to problems that can seem insurmountable.
But what about the carers, who looks after them? Who supports the people who are there 24/7 to provide immediate physical and emotional support to those in need – often without question and invariably without pay?
We recognise carers even when they don’t do so themselves.
This week is Carers Week and all over the country organisations will be running events to raise awareness of the work done by carers. Carers Week is an annual campaign which aims to raise awareness of caring, highlighting the challenges carers face and recognising the contributions they make to families and communities throughout the UK.
Recognising a Carer is an important part of our work at R.A.B.I and making a difference can be as simple as turning to them and saying: “And how are you doing?” Often, I might be the only person to ask such a question that week.
A carer may be a spouse, partner, son, daughter or family friend. They may have evolved into their caring role over time in cases of degenerative illness such as dementia or been catapulted into it by a life-changing accident or illness. Either way they deserve our respect and support.
At R.A.B.I, we understand that one person’s problems can significantly impact the whole household and our job is to look at things holistically. No two situations are ever the same and we allow people the time that they need to trust and engage with us. Caring can be tough, unpaid, unrecognised and relentless. We can ease the burden in various ways such as: providing a grant for disability equipment; helping with applications and appeals to state benefits; applying for disabled parking badges; paying for a respite break; helping with care home costs or arranging top-up fees for residential care. We understand that carers have statutory needs and rights too and we want to help them access services.
Local Authorities have a duty to support carers. Carers Assessment focuses on how the carer is coping. What is the impact of caring on their finances, work, social relationships, and own physical and mental health?
Something that is often overlooked is the effect of caring on the relationship between the carer and the person that they are caring for. That’s why a solution to a problem might be helping someone join a support group, gain access to training or simply give them the time, patience and space to share their burdens, fears and concern. I am happy to be that person who offers them a listening ear.
Supporting organisations for carers are out there but they do differ from region to region. To find out what is happening in your area contact www.carersuk.org or simply ask us. We really are happy to help.