Carers Week has begun to help all those who care for loved ones.

Running until June 13 the annual campaign seeks to raise awareness for caring, highlighting the challenges unpaid carers face and recognising the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.

This year’s theme is to ‘Make Caring Visible and Valued.’

Dani Leslie, Chief Officer at Eden Carers, said: “Every year we urge the people we support to write a Carers’ Emergency Plan. That’s all the information that would be needed if the carer becomes acutely ill / has an accident or has to go into hospital at short notice."

The national campaign is brought to life by thousands of individuals and organisations who come together to provide support for carers, run activities, and highlight the vital role carers play in our communities, drawing attention to just how important caring is.

There are five main Carers Organisations in Cumbria: Eden Carers, West Cumbria Carers, Carlisle Carers, Furness Carers, South Lakeland Carers.

Carers organisations across Cumbria support people across the county from as young as five-years-old.

Dani said: “It is really useful to have all the key information in place and you can contact us to help you with it. Or you can chat to the Carer and Cared For You support and write a helpful list of information that can be kept in a place that is easily accessible in an emergency.”

It’s thought that nationally unpaid carers save the UK economy £132 billion a year.

There are 6.5 million people in the UK who are carers. Whether they are looking after a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness or who needs extra help as they grow older, the emergency plan could help give carers helpful information.

The sort of information that is helpful includes things like:

· a full list of medication details of any ongoing treatment they need / allergies

· details of their GP and pharmacy

· any care and support services they receive

· any continence products needed and who supplies them

· any mobility challenges and mobility aids such as a wheelchair or hoist

· anything behavioural that others need to be aware of

· contact details for anyone they would like to be notified if they have to go into hospital, friends, family or professionals,

· who would look after a pet at short notice. This will help everyone if things deteriorate quickly.

Dani added: “We currently support around 800 unpaid carers, 170 of which are young carers aged between five and 18 years.

“We are one of five independent charitable, geographically based, carers organisations in Cumbria providing free advice and support to unpaid carers."

“We’re really keen for people to take the time to create their own emergency plan – but we are also here to provide carers assessments; benefit application form filling and signposting to other agencies.

"We also offer carers support, respite from their caring role, information and advice."

It is vitally important that the county recognise the contribution carers make to their families and local communities, workplaces and society, and that they get the support they need.

It’s thought 10 per cent of the UK’s population are unpaid carers – someone who is looking after a relative or friend who, due to a disability, illness or old age, cannot manage at home without their help.

Dani said: “One of the most important roles we have is helping unpaid carers navigate the labyrinth of social care, NHS, benefits and legal advice in which they can suddenly and unexpectedly find themselves.

"We work very closely with our partners in social care and the NHS, ensuring carers and the cared for, receive the best possible outcomes.”

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