Carer’s Week 2018
Carer’s Week is an annual campaign that aims to raise awareness for carers and caring roles, highlight any challenges for carers and recognise the contribution they make to the individual they care for, and society as a whole. Unpaid carers save the government £132 billion per year, the equivalent cost of a second NHS.
The theme for Carer’s Week 2018 was ‘Healthy and Connected‘. The purpose of this theme was to look at all the ways that carers can be supported to stay Healthy and Connected to maintain or improve their wellbeing. The idea is to build communities which support carers to carry out their caring role, whilst also recognising that they have health and wellbeing needs of their own.
Around 6.5 million people in the UK are carers with 61% of Carer’s in the UK saying they have suffered physical ill health as a result of caring.
Health Exchange staff attended a number of events throughout Carer’s Week to show our support for carers and to gain a greater understanding of their experiences and needs.
Celebrating Family Carers – Tuesday 12th June
Throughout Carer’s Week, Health Exchange offered Birmingham carers a range of fun and family-friendly activities. Celebrations kicked off on Tuesday 12th June with the annual Carer’s Celebration at the Symphony Hall. In line with the Carer’s Week theme, this year’s event focused on being ‘Healthy and Connected’ and offered carers a variety of free activities and entertainment. As a Birmingham Carers Hub partner, Health Exchange was on hand to showcase how we can support carers to identify and meet their health and wellbeing needs, explain more about carer’s assessments and help make sure that they are keeping healthy and connected in their caring role. We attended the event and delivered Health Check MOTs, set up the smoothie bike and discussed with attendees the services carers can access and the support available to them.
Recognising the Needs of the Carer – Wednesday 13th June
The aim of the Recognising the Needs of the Carer event was to highlight carer’s needs in acute hospital settings and for the audience and speakers to work together to shape the future of the carer pathway. It was apparent that now more than ever, supporting unpaid carers in their caring role is vital. Carers should be empowered to make choices about their caring role and access appropriate services and support for them and the person they look after. A recent survey carried out at University Hospital Birmingham revealed that 51% of staff were unaware of the support available to carers offered by community organisations, like Health Exchange. Carers themselves found that there was limited knowledge and support available in the hospital and the community. This helps to show providers that further work is needed to make sure that healthcare professionals and carers alike are more aware of the services and support available. Health Exchange is committed to identifying carers and understanding their needs through our Wellbeing Coordinator service, finding solutions and guidance to help them maintain their caring role and their own wellbeing whether it is through leisure, work experience or mental health support.
Wellbeing Session for Women and Carers – Wednesday 13th June
The Wellbeing Session for Women and Carers event was held at St Mary’s Convent. It was an opportunity for female carers to get some respite from their daily caring responsibilities and be pampered. Treatments provided included nail painting, massages and a mindfulness session. Health Exchange was there to offer carer’s assessments and referrals into the Wellbeing Coordinator service to give further support to anyone who needed it.
A Life Alongside Caring – Sunday 17th June
The event consisted of a variety of free activities, talks, demonstrations and performances designed to show carers that they can have ‘a life alongside caring’. The organisers also wanted the views and thoughts of the carers about what makes a difference to them as a carer in Birmingham, to help shape the carer offer. We attended to demonstrate how we can support carers with their health and wellbeing needs and give the opportunity for individuals to create their own smoothies using our smoothie bike.
It’s been great to see so much effort being put into supporting carers and finding out what they want and need to improve their wellbeing. The best way to provide support for a group of people is to engage with them directly and listen to what they have to say. It’s really encouraging to see this being done across the city and we look forward to continuing to be involved in working with carers to shape the carer pathway and improve support.