There are 6.5 million people caring unpaid for an ill, frail or disabled family member or friend. These people would probably say "I'm just being a husband, a wife, a mum, a dad, a son, a daughter, a friend or a good neighbour." What they are not saying is “I am a Carer.”
When people need help with their day-to-day living they often turn to their family and friends. Being a Carer includes anything from giving emotional support through to providing extensive practical support, such as getting someone washed and dressed, turning them in their sleep, helping them move about or administering their medication. Carers also help with things like shopping, laundry, cleaning, cooking, filling in forms or managing money.
Not all caring responsibilities are the same, caring for someone with a mental health problem can be more varied than for other Carers. Sometimes it can be hard to comprehend why someone needs caring for if they don’t have a physical illness or disorder; it may be harder to understand what they are experiencing. A physical illness is easily recognisable, however caring for someone with mental health may not need much assistance at certain times, but they may need a large amount of care at other times. Symptoms of mental health problems are sometimes unpredictable and can be particularly worrying. Being a Carer can be both challenging and rewarding, it can be emotionally draining and can place significant demands on your time and energy; it can also give you a sense of satisfaction from helping someone else.
How can GroceryAid help those being cared for, or those caring?
GroceryAid has put together a tailored programme to help relieve some of the stress caused by caring. The GroceryAid Carers Programme supports those who give unpaid care to others and those who are cared for by unpaid Carers. Our Carers Programme is open to people who work, or have worked, in the grocery industry.
Benefits of the programme include:
- Annual visits by Caseworkers to help provide practical and emotional support
- Access to expert support through the confidential 24/7 Helpline service
- Advice on local support groups through the Helpline service
- Access to telephone counselling services which help people deal with stress, anxiety and depression.
- Up to £300 annually for a respite break that suits the Carers needs
- Quarterly grants
- Enrolment, where appropriate, on the GroceryAid job re-entry programme.
If you think you, or someone you know, may benefit from being part of the GroceryAid Carers Programme and would like to find out more they should email GroceryAid on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01252 875925 / 08088 021122 (Helpline). To apply please use Apply for Help link at the bottom of this page.
Carers in the workplace
Nearly half of Carers work, alongside caring. To combine the two, Carers need to be able to rely on good quality, flexible health and care services, and to feel supported by a Carer-friendly workplace. Without an understanding employer, flexible working arrangements and a Carer-friendly workplace, the competing demands of work and care can feel like an impossible juggling act.
In the workplace, Carers also worry about how their role and responsibilities outside of work will be viewed by their employers and colleagues. One in ten Carers do not inform their employer of their situation. Yet leaving Carers unsupported in the workplace means that they are more likely to leave their job, which damages both the financial security of the Carers themselves, and that of the business and wider economy. Giving up work or reducing your hours to care has an immediate impact on household income. Combined with the extra costs of disability and caring, this leaves many Carers in long-term financial hardship.
The peak age for carers is 45-64, a point where many Carers have valuable work skills and experience. Their exit from the labour market leaves businesses with substantial productivity loss and recruitment costs. Carers should be able to work in an environment that supports them. This can be achieved through formal policies and procedures, or informal agreements.
Are you a Carer and working?
- Have you notified your work place about your caring responsibilities?
- Are you feeling stressed and need support?
- Do you know about GroceryAid’s Helpline and the support you can access through our Carers programme?
For anyone that is unaware of our programme; GroceryAid’s Helpline is accessible to everyone who has worked within the grocery industry from factory to store, regardless of service and the programme is set up to provide completely confidential and free access to information, advice and support on all aspects of life – work related or home related.
The GroceryAid Helpline is available 24/7, 365 days a year.
- Carers UK – advice on care and responsibilities
- Age UK – advice for older carers
- Carers Trust – advice and support for Carers of any age
- Alzheimers - understanding and supporting a person with Dementia
- Carers Direct Helpline - services available for people living in, or caring for someone in, England
- Working Families – help for working parents, Carers and their employers who are looking for a better balance between responsibilities at home and at work
- Carers Allowance – guidance on the Carers Allowance from Gov.uk and how to claim.