I had the pleasure of attending a ‘hot talk on health’ sponsored by the Change Foundation, an independent health policy think tank. The panelists were Helena Herklots CEO from Carers UK and she spoke on ‘Lessons from the UK’ and Dr. Katherine Arnup, professor, author and caregiver.
Carers UK has a rich history starting in 1965. Their mission is: to provide advice to caregivers by caregivers, connect carers, campaign together and explore innovative ways to reach carers. One in eight adults are carers. They have the Care Act which strengthens the rights of carers, provides an allowance and includes a duty to provide service and support.
These innovative campaigns include family doctors and hospitals providing ‘caregiver passports’ to carers which welcomes their involvement, provides discounts on hospital parking and other hospital related items. Family doctors are providing ‘social prescriptions’ for respite and other support services for the carer. Most interesting, carers have a united voice and are involved in policy development.
Dr. Arnup discussed her caregiving journey and shared her story in her book: “ I don’t have time for this!” A Compassionate Guide To Caring For Your Parents And Yourself. This is a good read that speaks to all of the unmentioned concerns and questions that carers contemplate. It addresses fears, hopes and the reality shared by many carers in an informative conversational manner.
Remember caregiving is a dyad, it takes two people- the care recipient and the care giver and both need to have their needs met. If you are in your office reading this blog, look around because dollars to donuts, there are carers around you. Lesson Learnt? Remember to ask how they are both doing.
*I don’t know who said this but this is an accurate quote!