Posted: 29 November 2019

A young carer's message for the future Prime Minister

Dear future Prime Minister,

If my voice can be heard, I ask you to recognise carers and promote their involvement in the social care system

When we talk about carers, we talk about others, until one day we start talking about ourselves. Rosalyn Carter once said that 'there are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.'

This simply highlights that everyone will be impacted by caring at some point in their lives. Carers are sons, daughters, parents, siblings, partners and friends. Carers can be any age, gender, race, or from any background. Despite this, many aren't identified as or don't know that they are carers.

If my voice can be heard, I ask you to place informal carers at the core of the social care system

There is a saying that goes, 'take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves'. In a time of change, it is a perfect opportunity to rethink this phrase and use it to support carers.

If the Prime Minister took care of the pennies, and instead of saving them, invested them in resources to support carers, the informal carers will continue to save the Government the billions of pounds estimated each year.

Accessible and available support is the difference between, 'I need help with this' and 'I cannot do this'. It is the difference between saving the Government the cost of a second NHS, and needing a second NHS.

So I ask the future Prime Minister, in a time of change, please rethink how to maximise the social care system and start using the pennies. Their value is so much more than their worth to a carer in crisis.

If my voice can be heard, I ask you to value and empower informal carers as key partners in care

When someone becomes a carer, they are appointed for a job they did not sign up for, that they have no relevant qualifications for, that they have had no training on, and no time to prepare for.

The role is unpaid, long hours, physically and emotionally challenging, and beyond full time. Family carers do not get holiday pay, sick pay or pension. Access to services, equipment, funding, and respite empowers carers to support the lives of the person they care for.

While doctors specialise in their area of medicine or treatment, informal carers are the experts on the person they care for. They learn the person beyond the diagnosis. They learn behaviours, communication styles, challenges, strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. When carers are included in the care of a patient and they are provided the right resources and support, they can offer the most person-centred care for the most vulnerable people in our society.

If my voice can be heard, I would ask you to prioritise the sons, daughters, parents, siblings, partners and friends who change the world

Whether it is the world you know, or the world of the people they care for, I know that it is better for having informal carers in it.

Ask your next MP to prioritise young people's issues

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