Anyone, regardless of their background, age or ethnicity can become a carer at any stage of life. Being a caregiver can make it hard to do paid work, study, stay connected, and have fun.
In Kent, an estimated 148,341 adults aged 16+ provide many hours of unpaid care each week. Becoming an unpaid carer can happen suddenly, leaving people unprepared for the role that they take on.
KCC has a five-year plan focusing on how the council works with partners to improve the experiences of unpaid carers in Kent. It’s part of the KCC Adult Carers' Strategy 2022-2027 which was created with the help of caregivers, people who receive care, caregiver support groups, and social care workers and focuses on the key areas they find important
The council works with various carer support organisations who can offer help, advice, training, and support to carers, including balancing work and caregiving.
One of the Kent carers who helped the council to develop the strategy, shared their reflections about caring for loved ones:
“As carers, we are not always clear about or understand the role we’re taking on. Support for unpaid carers is just as important as support for the people we care for. This should start as early as possible with good information, education and tools that help us to look after ourselves and others. That way, carers like me will know the places where they can get support and relief when they need it most and do the best they can.”
If you're not sure if you can get help as a caregiver, you can take a carers assessment on the Kent Connect to Support website; a new KCC online resource to find information on being independent, informed, and connected. This assessment is not means tested and is available regardless of the hours and type of support received by the person cared for.
“.....It is so important that all carers, new and experienced, understand their rights today, tomorrow and in the future...”
Dan Watkins, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health said: "Carers Rights Day is a great opportunity to strengthen the voices of unpaid carers and share information, advice and guidance to improve their knowledge of the support out there for them - not only nationally, but in their local communities across Kent.
“It is so important that all carers, new and experienced, understand their rights today, tomorrow and in the future, and can access the support available to them as soon as needed.
“I would like to sincerely thank all Kent's unpaid carers for the outstanding and often self-sacrificing contribution they make to our residents and local communities and encourage them all to find out what carers support organisations have available to help them.”
Sign up to Kent County Council’s Adult Social Care Your Voice Network to hear about how you can help to shape social care? Visit www.kent.gov.uk/yourvoice to find out more.