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Carers Week 2020 - the Angus Carers Centre Newsletter

Monday 08th June 2020
Carers' Week

Monday 8th - Sunday 14th June 2020

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.

The campaign is brought to life by thousands of individuals and organisations who come together to provide support for carers, run activities and highlight the vital role carers play in our communities, drawing attention to just how important caring is.


Carers Week 2020

This year, people across the country are continuing to face new challenges as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Many people are taking on more caring responsibilities for their relatives and friends who are disabled, ill or older and who need support.

They need to be recognised for the difficulties they are experiencing, respected for all they are doing, and provided with information, support and understanding.

So during Carers Week, we're coming together to help Make Caring Visible. 

There are between 700,000 - 800,000* unpaid carers in Scotland including 29,000 who are under the age of 18. Scotland’s Carers research report (March 2015). https://www.gov.scot/publications/scotlands-carers/

They are looking after a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness or who needs extra help as they grow older.

Caring's impact on all aspects of life from relationships and health to finances and work should not be underestimated, and carers are facing even more difficult circumstances this year. Whilst many feel that caring is one of the most important things they do, its challenges should not be underestimated. Caring without the right information and support can be tough. 

It is vitally important that we recognise the contribution carers make to their families and local communities, workplaces and society, and that they get the support they need.


Making Caring Visible in 2020


Caring can be rewarding but also challenging, and many carers are currently dealing with more challenges than ever before. It is important that carers know how to look after their own health and wellbeing, and that we all recognise the contribution that carers make. Caring's impact on all aspects of life, from relationships and health to finances and work, should not be underestimated, and caring without the right information and support can be tough. 
This year, when carers have the additional worry of how to keep themselves and the person they care for safe during the coronavirus outbreak, it is important that carers have the information, guidance and support they need.
 

This Carers Week, we're recognising that now, more than ever before, it's time for us to come together and help Make Caring Visible.
  
Let's raise our voices together and help Make Caring Visible
 

Q & A with the CEO


An invitation to have a chat with 
Alison Myles,

CEO of Angus Carers Centre

 Alison says:


When I meet someone new and tell them where I work they usually say 1 of 2 things, 
Either 
“I think I know someone who is an unpaid carer, (or I think I am unpaid carer)”
Or
“I didn’t know that Angus Carers Centre did so much”.

As part of this year’s Carers Week, (“Making Caring Visible”), I thought I’d take the opportunity to meet with people from local communities across Angus and from the local business sector who
  • Don’t have connections with our organisation
  • Who would like to find out more about what is meant when we say someone is an ‘unpaid carer’,
  • Why supporting them is so important
  • What the team of dedicated team of staff and volunteers do on a day to day basis.
Taking advantage of our recently acquired digital skills! I’ve scheduled 3 x1 hour Video Conference Sessions, using ZOOM, over Carers Week. I would love for you to join me so I can tell you more about the services we deliver as a partner along with the other amazing third sector organisations we have in Angus, answer any questions you have about our work and get to know you a bit as well. I’ve limited numbers to each session to 8 to make sure we can have a good chat.

Please join me on either:
Wednesday 10th June 6-7pm
Thursday 11th June 10-11am
Saturday 11am-12 noon
 
You can register for a place at one of the sessions by booking online.   You will be able to do this  by going to the Angus Carers Centre website and Social Media  where further details will be published.

 
(If you need any specific support as an unpaid carer please phone our office 01241 439157 or email enquiries@anguscarers.org.uk as I’ll not be able to provide 1:1 support during these conversations)
 
National Carers' Week

Angus Carers Centre programme of activity
In celebration of Carers Week, many activities have been planned and arranged through Angus Carers Centre.  Please see details of these below. 

Monday June 8th

Introduction to Carers Week, video by Alison Myles, CEO.  This will be available from 9.30 am on Angus Carers Centre website and Social Media .


Mark Beaumont, acclaimed long distance cyclist, broadcaster and author giving a video message for carers.  This will be available from 1pm on Angus Carers Centre website and Social Media.

Tuesday June 9th

Exercises with Gemma Collier who is a physiotherapist  and Pilates instructor.  Gemma has kindly shared exercise videos. This will be available from 10am on Angus Carers Centre website and Social Media.

Social Security Scotland Benefits. Open question and answer session with Social Security Scotland regarding their own devolved benefits. No DWP benefits can be discussed. This will take place at 11am using online platforms'.  Participants are asked to register to take part as spaces are limited.  You will be able to do this  by going to the Angus Carers Centre website and Social Media . where further details will be published.

Wednesday June 10th 

Dementia information session and Meeting Centre.  Join us as we speak to Graham Galloway, CEO of Kirrie Connections. Find out more about the first Meeting Centre in Scotland, set up to support those living with Dementia and their carers. This will take place at 11am using 'Zoom meeting place'.  Participants are asked to register to take part as spaces are limited.  You will be able to do this  by going to the Angus Carers Centre website and Social Media . where further details will be published.

Doorstep crime and internet Scams.  Open question and answer session with Katherine Hart from Trading Standards, Angus  Council, in relation to current such crimes and scams.  This will take place at 2pm  using 'Zoom meeting place'.  Participants are asked to register to take part as spaces are limited.  You will be able to do this  by going to the Angus Carers Centre website and Social Media . where further details will be published.



Thursday June 11th

Exercises with Gemma Collier who is a physiotherapist  and Pilates instructor.  Gemma has kindly shared exercise videos. This will be available from 10am on Angus Carers Centre website and Social Media ..



Energy efficiency, Citizens Advice Bureau.   Open question and answer session on energy efficiency and how to improve spending at this time.  This will take place at 11am using 'Zoom meeting place'.  Participants are asked to register to take part as spaces are limited.  You will be able to do this  by going to the Angus Carers Centre website and Social Media . where further details will be published.

Hillcrest Futures training and information.   Training session from Jill Scott regarding naloxone and new concerns brought about by COVID. Q&A session and advice at end of session . This will take place at 2pm using 'Zoom meeting place'.  Participants are asked to register to take part as spaces are limited.  You can do so by following this link to Eventbrite where you will find more details.

Friday June 12th

Your wellbeing.  Join us for our wellbeing session where we will focus on ways to maintain and improve self-care. This will take place at 10am using 'Zoom meeting place'.  Participants are asked to register to take part as spaces are limited.  You will be able to do this  by going to the Angus Carers Centre website and Social Media . where further details will be published.

Parent Carer cuppy time!  An opportunity to join the discussion to help inform our services and practical strategies for back to school routines etc. This will take place at 11am using 'Zoom meeting place'.  Participants are asked to register to take part as spaces are limited.  You will be able to do this  by going to the Angus Carers Centre website and Social Media  where further details will be published.
 
Angus Carers Voice Network

Capturing the COVID- 19 experience of Unpaid Carers in Angus

 
Introduction

In these unprecedented times COVID-19 has changed all of our day to day living. Angus Carers Voice Network (ACVN), supported by Angus Carers Centre wants to capture the changes it may have meant for you as an unpaid carer.

Some of you may remember the “Carers Diary Project” completed way back in 2017. The ACVN were planning to complete this again in spring 2020 to compare the earlier findings and discover if there had been any major changes since the first project.

Then COVID-19 and Lockdown happened. This required a rethink of our plans. ACVN have suspended their plans for a full Diary Project until later in 2020.

It is really important that the Angus Carers Strategy Partnership Group (ACSPG), know how COVID-19 has affected the services and support you and those you care for have received over this period. We want to capture what has worked well for you to ensure this stays in place and what hasn’t worked for you we can work with you to improve your situation.

Who should take part in this enquiry?

Anyone who is an unpaid carer in Angus is encouraged to add their story to our enquiry. We want to hear from carers who are registered with Angus Carers Centre and those who have no contact with the organisation. We want to hear from those who have contact with health & social care services and those who do not. If you look after another person who could not cope on their own without your help then we want to hear from you.

What will happen with my information?

The information you provide will be used to put together a report which captures the experiences of unpaid carers in Angus during COVID-19. It is important that Angus Carers Centre & Angus Carers Voice compile a report to share your experiences with Angus Health & Social Care Partnership who fund Carers Support in Angus and the Carers Policy Unit at the Scottish Government. Your responses will inform the first review of the Angus Carers Strategy 2019 – 2022. The Improvement Plan attached to the Strategy may need to change as a result of what has happened during 2020 so far. We need you to tell us about your day to day experiences to inform this work. 

Data Protection Declaration

No information you provide will in any way indentify you. It will be securely retained by the Angus Carers Centre under legal obligation, for such time as required to compile our report then subsequently destroyed. Your details will not be used for any other purpose or passed on to any other parties.


What is an Unpaid Carer?

(by Peter Burke, Carers Rep - Angus Integrated Joint Board)
If there’s anything good to come out of this dreadful pandemic, it’s the fact that health professionals, politicians, and the Governments of Scotland and the UK are recognising the critical and essential work that unpaid carers are still doing, even as for others the lockdown may be easing.

The definitions under the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 of an unpaid carer is, “A carer is an individual who provides care, or intends to provide care, for another individual. The cared-for person may have an illness, disability, a mental health problem or a substance misuse problem. Exceptions are where the cared for person is under 18 and is receiving care proportionate to their age  and where the carer is paid to provide care.

But this recognition can only cover those who have identified themselves, or been recognised by others as ‘carers’.
Unfortunately these folks are just the tip of the iceberg; the Scottish Government estimates there are upwards of 800,000 unpaid carers in Scotland. Of these, only 83,000 – those claiming carers allowance - were entitled to the very welcome extra payments recently.

The same applies in Angus, with only some 3,000 out of an estimated 19,000 being awarded the money.

So what is needed is awareness among the general public of those who provide unpaid care. A lot are put off, or don’t want to be labelled as ‘carers’.

So let’s start looking for people who provide support to someone who would otherwise struggle without it.
  • Daughters looking after their Mums by fetching their messages, doing their laundry and arranging to have their garden tidied
  • Brothers and sisters who keep an eye on disabled siblings, providing them with help when needed
  • Pensioners who look after a spouse with dementia and
  • Youngsters with parents with drink or drugs problems, making sure everyone in the family gets food to eat, and making sure their little brothers and sisters get to school clean, fed, and on time.
They’re all carers, even if they don’t realise it or don’t want to acknowledge it.

Angus Integrated Joint Board approved the ‘Local Eligibility Criteria’ for Carers in 2018. This document  describes the different levels of impact has on different aspects of unpaid carers lives, and importantly, how much support these carers are entitled to.  Take a look at the descriptions on pages 10 -14. Do you recognise yourself or someone close to you?

The more people that we can encourage to self-identify in their caring role – great or small – the louder our combined voice becomes, and we all become recognised and actively supported by local and national Governments.
 

Emergency planning for unpaid carers 


Does someone depend on you?  What will happen to the person that you look after if you become ill or can’t get home to them? We know that this is a huge worry for many unpaid carers, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.  
 
It is only natural to worry about the person that you care for, but thinking through an emergency plan, writing it down and sharing it with others can help reduce some of the stress.  It can also support you to have vital conversations with family, friends and trusted neighbours about the role they could play in an emergency. 
 
An emergency plan sets out what people need to know to best support the person you care for, for a short, unplanned period and who your emergency contacts are.  So if you ever need to use your plan, you can be reassured that the person you care for will be looked after as you and they would want.
If the person you support has a care manager or case holder, ask them about a Carers Emergency Plan.  If not, you can find out more about the emergency plan from Angus Carers Centre, by calling 01241 439157 or by emailing enquiries@anguscarers.org.uk 

Angus Carers Centre and Angus Health and Social Care Partnership have developed a template to help carers put a plan together, which you can access here. 

 

Carers Emergency Card

 
Carers tell us they often worry what would happen to the person they care for if they are in an accident or suddenly taken ill at home. The credit card sized Carers Emergency Card is a way of letting people know that someone relies on you. 

 

If you share your Carers Emergency Plan with Angus Health and Social Care Partnership, you can benefit from this free service.  There is a 24-hour emergency helpline so if you are unable to do so, the Community Alarm Service can get in touch with your emergency contacts on your behalf or take appropriate action.
 
To find out more about the Carers Emergency Card call 01307 464943 or 01307 462670.