of the Covid pandemic according to a new report. The report show the impact of caring on their own physical and mental health has topped carers’ concerns closely followed by money worries. Carers Scotland, on of the charities behind the report, says more needs to be done to support the growing numbers of unpaid carers.
Right off, let me say that of course unpaid carers deserve far more support but this kind of coverage also needs a bit of context so that viewers can put the issue into a meaningful context.
First, the report is based on interviews with 22 people from 24 who were ‘offered’ an interview. This kind of qualitative research can reveal insights into the real lived experience of subjects but it cannot, should not ever, be used suggest wider patterns. There are more than 1 million unpaid carers in Scotland. A sample of 22?
Second, viewers should hear how Scotland is doing, relatively, with regard to its support for carers.
How about these?
4 thoughts on “Scotland’s unpaid carers supported a bit better?”
Regarding financial concerns.
In addition to the above references, unpaid carers in Scotland in receipt of UK Carers Allowance get a top up from the SG worth over £450 p.a. which is not available elsewhere in UK. During the pandemic there has been an additional payment worth 50% of the Scottish allowance in each tax year.
In the current tax year SG has also increased the Scottish top-up by over 6% to account for the rate of inflation known in April. There are also plans for an additional payment for unpaid carers on Carers Allowance looking after more than one person, again not available elsewhere.
Unpaid caring is demanding and I for one appreciate that the SG recognises that and tries within their budgetary constraints to make a tangible gesturer of gratitude.
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John I’ll make it number 23 of 25 (so still not representative numerically, but something to say after 38 years of increasingly doing the job to the level I’m at today).
First of all, let me say I would rather have the support services than not have them. Absolutely no doubt.
But nor is there any doubt that they could be better.
One of the problems with being an unpaid carer, especially when your caree (if that’s a word) is pretty much wholly dependent on you, is isolation. If it werent for our wee dog I dont know if I would ever go out. To some extent this is our own fault, and I am trying to address it for both our sakes, but one consequence has been that if you are not “out and about” you dont learn what is available because you dont hear about it.
That is one problem with the present services – they lack proactivity. Once a year (up to the pandemic) a lady would come round from the Health Board to ask how my wife was getting on, filling out a form as she went. But it never did us any good. She would note down problems but no solutions ever came back. When eventually I did sit in on one of these sessions, my comment (to my wife after the HB lady had gone) was “well that’s half an hour of my life I wont get back again”.
Surely, though as her condition deteriorated someone might have been appointed as her contact with the NHS (or Health and Social Care), someone who could say “you’re struggling with this. We could do these things to help you”. But that never happened. It’s all very well to say you should ask for help, but if you dont know the help is there you wont ask.
One not exactly obvious consequence of this is that when you do go and ask for help, the person they send along has no idea “where you are” in the process of decline. Sometimes they tend to think you are at the beginning when in fact you are in Chapter 5, which brings me to my next grouse – lack of continuity.
Over the last year or so we have had the services of a really excellent Occupational Therapist who has helped us not just deal with situations better, or at least tried to, but provided psychological support. However, at her last visit she said she would be signing us off as everything had been done in the referral. If we have other needs we will need another referral and who we will get will be the luck of the draw, but almost certainly no one who knows us and no one we know. So, we start again.
I’ve been encouraged to get Health and Social Care Care Workers in to help with things like getting up/ going to bed. But, the latter for instance, depends on work patterns and can mean the doorbell going at 8.00 with someone outside to deal one of these. Would you want to go to your bed at 8.00.
In other words, the system needs to at least try to be more flexible. My impression is “this is what we do, live with it or get on with it” – we’ve tended to do the latter and up to now it’s been ok, but what the future holds ….
An’ forward, tho’ I cannot see,
I guess an’ fear!
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You can request to have a carers assessment by the Social work department, and also, care workers shouold be able to be flexible, it depends on you and your wife’s needs. My son has a few hours of support per week, (under the Labout council that was not easy to access!) that is via an autism agency/charity (based in England!) and they can be flexible, they assess each year what my sons needs are. Yesterday we had a wonderful carer who helped start the ball rolling to properly clean my son’s bedroom, what a huge relief, and we finished it ourselves at 2am. Practical support is crucial sometimes for carers, because doing everything on your own is energy draining and depressing. I hope social work can provide some support for you soccerdoc, ask them to come out and do an assessment of needs and carers assessement, it’s your right. Also they can help put in plans for the future. It’s worth contacting carers charities, there a few in Scotland. Also AgeUK in Scotland, if you are not so young! In Edinburgh there is VOCAL, and recently I discovered Edinburgh carers council.
This might be worth a reckie.
There should be carers support in your specific area/region of Scotland but this might be useful. Also check out any charities online regarding your wifes specific condition, becuase there is quite often support online for the carer, or face to face groups etc so you are not so isolated. The pandemic has been a terrible time for all, with carers becoming more isolated than before.
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I think The ScotGov are really trying to improve on care services for those needing care and for carers. With a tight and reduced budget set by the English government, and having to mitigate so many cruel and terrible financial cuts to the poorest, I suspect it’s going to be a stretch to do anything much other than set out plans, until independence. Without full fiscal powers, Scotland is at the mercy of the English government, and it’s looking as if the UK so called, is being run by a Putinesque cabal. They are not really a goverment now at all.
The Scottish governments’ financial support for unpaid carers is an absolute necessity, and helps keep the wolf at bay. As I care for two sons with autism, the EngGovs’ £66 or so a week is an insult and of course they remove carers allowance £ for £ from other ‘benefits’!
Even just having Nicola Sturgeon thanking unpaid carers, and recognising the ‘work’ that they do is a massive boost to morale. To call it ‘work’ is also helpful, caring, keeping people safe, mentally and practically, is very hard work and long term and takes it’s toll. Other than other carers, unpaid caring is very much not seen as ‘work’, my family are certainly not of the view that I ‘work’ at all even though I can be up until 3am supporting my son with his mental health, in fact I have little contact with them now, because a rant over the phone about how ‘you need to do something, like get a job, so does S’, can bring you down even more.
I have to hand it to the SNP for at least recognising unpaid Carers for the work that they do for those who need any amount of support to stay safe, and manage day to day living etc.