Ed’s story: How unpaid carers are navigating a new reality

Unpaid carers play a valuable role in today’s society, more so than ever as the world learns to navigate a new reality following the coronavirus pandemic.

It is important to recognise the vital importance of carers and the support they provide, and so for Carers Week 2021, the theme is Make Caring Visible and Valued.

Without carers, many people would not only struggle to stay independent but could become isolated, lonely and depressed. Caring can be tough and very demanding and throughout Carers Week it is an opportunity to raise awareness to make carers visible and valued.

Hull City Council’s marketing officer Ed Rex, cares for his mother alongside working full-time.

He said: “As a result of the pandemic, I’ve become a full-time carer in a sense. I wasn’t going out anywhere.

“Anything you do has a consequence and might impact on whoever you’re caring for, so if one of my friends asked me if I fancied meeting up after work, I need to think about what support my mum needs done before I can go out and meet my friends.

“Does she need attending to at that time? When can I schedule things? For me it’s all about planning as I struggle to do spontaneous things.”

Watch the full interview here.

This year’s theme focuses on Make Caring Visible and Valued.

In the UK, 9.1 million people were already caring before the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic over a year ago, however there has been a staggering increase of 4.5 million who have started providing care since then.

Ed says that the key to balancing his marketing role with caring for his mum is organisation: “It’s all a matter of planning your day out, particularly if you have a full-time job. It’s essential you give yourself time to ensure you undertake those activities.

“For example, when I wake up in the morning, what would be common for someone without any caring responsibilities would be to get up, have a shower, breakfast and then go to work, but I have to wake up probably an hour earlier than usual. I make breakfast for my mother and do any personal caring activities and just make sure I’m available if she needs me.”

There are an estimated 13.6 million unpaid carers in the UK today. That is 26% of the adult population.

If you are a carer and need to access further support, information and advice please visit Hull Connect to Support.

The Carers Information & Support Service (CISS) are offering free training sessions for people become Carers Champions. By accessing their e-learning it will provide you with all the knowledge on how you can:

  • recognise unpaid carers
  • have insight into the challenge’s unpaid carers face
  • refer a carer for support

You can access the facilitated e-learning session here.

Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. It also helps people who don’t think of themselves as having caring responsibilities to identify as carers and access much-needed support.

Find out more about Carers Week here.

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