Carers Week 2021
There are 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK that should be visible and valued. We at AKO feel that carers are the backbone of our society and should be acknowledged and supported. Carers constantly have at the back of their minds of who will look after our children and adults when we are no longer around. A petition was created and we would really appreciate your support by signing this. Click here to add your signature and please do continue to share this.
Carers Week 2021 – an article by our Charity Champion Beverly Guest
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.” How do you begin to start acknowledging all the Carers who put others first every single second, minute, and hour of every day?! Some say ‘It’s just one of those things’ … yet in reality it isn’t. It so much more than that.
As Parent Carers, my husband and I do what we do because we want to, for our son, just like any other parent would. He was diagnosed with Autism, ADHD, learning difficulties, Global Developmental delay, hyper-mobility, and we know he has sensory challenges also.
He is absolutely amazing and has so many fabulous qualities. He is our World, and we would not change him for anything. Of course, some would say, we have to do what we do. We like to look at it in terms of we want to, as it is the honest truth. Those THOUSANDS of Carers are across all walks of life, all ages. The definition of a carer does not discriminate. It is totally inclusive!
There are likely to be thousands who do not even realise they are a Carer. From children looking after elders, to elders looking after children, it is impossible to list them all.
Each and every one of these thousands of carers plays a vital role, an undervalued role that is more often than not unpaid yet is likely to transpose as a full-time role, morning, afternoon, evening, out of hours… you name it.
And … It is one of the most fulfilling roles you can ever have. A truly rewarding role, with its own varied and unlimited job description. The ultimate reward and results of taking on this role present with a potential list of achievements from the person you have the privilege of caring for.
I am not saying everything is easy. Of course, it is not all plain sailing. It is often tough, it comes with its own challenges, anxiety, sleepless nights, financial worries, stress and more. Often parent carers are not just a Carer, they may have other jobs too, part time or full time, or indeed may have had to give up work.
All these can affect mental health which thankfully has had increased awareness in recent years. So, should not we also be increasing awareness of Carers too? … of course, hence this national week, which is focused on annually, to do just that.
Although … a carer’s role does not just take place in one week annually – it is often always.
Let us celebrate all that every Carer does! As a parent Carer, you often put your own feelings and thoughts to the side, and you forget yourself. For example, I am great at motivating and being positive to others, but I forget myself. My son comes first, always will, I would not have it any other way.
Carers as a whole are not always ‘seen’ and will often take a back seat and be forgotten about. But what would society do without us? What price can you put on the role of a Carer, when the ‘job description’ is endless, and has a list longer than you can imagine?
After our son’s diagnosis, I will admit I found it hard to find someone who wanted to ‘listen’, to hear us talk about the difficulties… and successes of course. To all others what is something ‘par for the course’ is a major achievement to us.
For instance, for the first time in almost 16 years, our son recently wanted to try a sandwich with TWO fillings, instead of just one! Yes TWO!
To us that was huge! Chicken AND lettuce together in one sandwich?! We wanted to shout it from the rooftops and wanted someone to listen. In the end he did not like the sandwich, but it was progress. Another first!
As Carers… ‘Parent carers’, you will seek out and find your own ‘tribe’. For us we found the most amazing group of people and charity with the biggest heart, and our community is huge, and they listen! More of that later.
As parent Carers for our son – who society class as disabled, we help with whatever he needs, and these may vary on any given day.
Wash, dress, help feed, and more, including fighting for his rights to access the same opportunities and life, each human being deserves. From our perspective, from the moment he was diagnosed we became his biggest advocate. And we will continue to be for every second of every moment we are here, until our last breath.
Yet the burning question on our lips as parent carers, is and will always be, who will care for him after we have gone?
How do you choose the right person(s)?
Our son has no siblings, sadly we lost one before he was born. Who will fight for his rights after we are gone?
Who will reassure him, guide him, motivate him, nurture, and love him as we do, after we are gone?
What does our society have in place in these situations?
Where do we start to put a plan together when all the avenues and options feel like travelling on the infamous ‘spaghetti junction’ or indeed into a black hole?
So, for now, we focus on the achievements, the fights that we win together as a family unit, and we do whatever we can to create a better future.
We fight for more, and we ‘care’. At the heart of our motivation is our son, and the community we have come to know, and love, and be a part of.
Our community, our carers community is important to us.
We may not be visible as carers to others. Yet we ‘know’. We know we are important to someone. Our someone is our son.
Personally, for me, discovering a Charity that put people first, inclusivity first, and letting everyone see they matter was key. That Charity is Anna Kennedy Online.
Not only as a parent Carer do I feel valued by them, but as a person I feel a ‘someone’, and as parent carers we feel our son is also a someone to them, and matters.
We were so happy to share and sign the petition launched by Anna Kennedy about social care, like for our son after we are gone – as I said Who will care for him when we aren’t there anymore? Click here to sign this petition
So, we will keep on fighting for our son, and hope that one day, Society will recognise that not just parent carers, but ALL carers are important, valued and deserve the support that would have the potential to change many lives for the better. It is not too much to ask, is it?
Thanks for reading. Bev..