Carers Week? I’m only a carer, I didn’t notice..

Question from the Carers UK 'State of Care 2014' survey. Note how they only ask whether you spend1-50 hours working as  a  carer. You would think they would be anxious to  find out how many million carers work up to 168 hours a week (the total number of hours in the week). But clearly not. Maybe they're not even aware of the possibility themselves! Amazing
Question from the Carers UK 'State of Care 2014' survey. Note how they only ask whether you spend1-50 hours working as a carer. You would think they would be anxious to find out how many million carers work up to 168 hours a week (the total number of hours in the week). But clearly not. Maybe they're not even aware of the possibility themselves! Amazing

So fellow Carers. Tell me ONE thing that has improved for you because of Carers Week? Don’t all speak at once .

In fact, what was Carers Week about?  I go to the Carers week website and I read the following, which frankly makes my blood boil:

Caring can be a rich source of satisfaction in people’s lives. It can be life-affirming. It can help deepen and strengthen relationships. It can teach you a multitude of skills and help you realise potential you never thought you had.

Gah! Please don’t patronise us. If you want to professionalise us, pay us.  And if you can’t afford to pay us – and the UK NHS and Social Care system is reliant on not paying 7million carers to do most of the caring work in this country - just shut up blethering, why dontcha and start thinking hard how to make our lives better, ok? We carers can judge how  ‘richly satisfying’being a carer is for ourselves.

But without the right support caring can have a devastating impact. 

No shit, Sherlock.

Evidence shows that caring can cause ill health, poverty and social isolation. When caring is intensive and unsupported you can struggle to hold down a job, get a night’s sleep, stay healthy and maintain your relationships with friends and family. 

Or you might not even be able to hold down that job, get a night’s sleep, stay healthy and maintain your relationships with friends and family. I mean have you – the person whowrote this –  personally tried to work 168hours every week without a break? No? Omigosh, no, you are merely working for a charity that talks about carers. You work European Working Time Directive hours, don’t you? You get pay? Sick pay? Holiday pay? An occupational pension?  Nice. You can leave work at the end of the day and go and do something else.  You can meet your friends in a bar at the end of work to say how hard work is – because for you, the concept of ‘after-work’ actually exists. You have weekends and bank holidays to yourself. You must really be able to empathise with our lot

“When caring happens, many people are shocked to find out just how little support there can be. Help is often out there.”

We both know this to be total rubbish. Help is almost never out there. The pretence of help,  the illusion of support – lots and lots and lots of words… but actions? No there are not a lot of those.

 During Carers Week events take place all around the UK to involve carers and make them aware of the support and services available.

Hah! I didn’t hear of a single solitary thing around where I am. Nobody contacted me. No-one involved me. The support and services on offer were what they always have been.  Nonexistent. Lets be frank –  when it exists – if it exists  - it isn’t support. And it isn’t services. Its a series of halfbaked initiatives and pats on the head from organizations too timorous to lobby, too embedded in the status quo to campaign, and too fond of their own comfort zone to extend themselves for the people they are paid very decent salaries to support.

Here’s a suggestion.

All you who think you are doing a good job supporting carers? Why don’t you do your job and stay in the building night and day for, say a couple of months on end. Don’t accept any pay. Work whether you are ill or not, and do nothing else whether you want to or not.

Live on that carers’ allowance that you make such mileage of supporting us to get. Really allows you to live it up big-time, doesn’t it!

Want to take a break? Go out to a village hall for a scant hour and meet workers from another carers charity  and sit in a set of rickety chairs  next to each other, drink a cup of instant coffee and make conversation. You have so much in common - particularly that business of never being able to move from one place. Experience  the full delight of getting away from it  - you were lucky to have the cover and there was so much to say to each other. THAT should support you for another month.

They say that before you criticise someone you should walk a mile in their shoes. You should have to walk that mile before you think of supporting them too.

I am sorry. you big carers charities – what you provide is not good enough. Carers want more. Carers need more. Carers deserve more.  We need  people prepared to fight on our behalf. Where are they?

Sign up to the Carers virtual strike caretostrike.co.uk

Carers Manifesto: five simple ways too change carers’ futures

 

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