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Hidden carers aren’t hidden at all

We talk a lot about “hidden carers” – the thousands of carers out there who are not in touch with any kind of support. I Sainsbury's campaign for hidden carerswonder what  a “ hidden “ carer looks like. Are they in camouflage with faces painted in green and brown, with khaki trousers and hat with twigs on?  Or are they like Harry Potter with an invisibility cloak? Well, I know some carers feel like they’re invisible, at least.

The truth is that they’re not hidden at all. On every street in every town there is at least one carer. They might not call themselves that, but they’re carrying out caring roles, looking after people who need them.

This isn’t an invisible thing to do. Looking after someone involves taking them to appointments, or to school if they’re a child, getting help from care services for them, doing their shopping, getting their prescriptions, making sure they get out and about and take part in the  activities they need to keep them healthy and happy. None of this is invisible or hidden. In almost all these activities, there are people who can see there is someone there, providing significant support to someone else.

However, just because it’s visible doesn’t  mean it’s always seen. If people providing these kinds of services aren’t thinking “carer” then perhaps it just doesn’t cross their mind to ask if someone is doing OK and whether they are getting the support they need. Maybe they don’t think it’s their job and perhaps sometimes they don’t want to feel like they’re interfering.  It is quite a personal issue after all. But as one carer once said – I just wanted someone to ask: “How are you?”.

Of course not every carer will want help from an external source, and this is absolutely fine. The other week, I spoke to a carer  who looks after his daughter who has a physical condition which needs painful daily treatment. He just regards himself as a dad and this as his job . But if he does need support, now or in the future, at least he now knows we’re here and what kinds of help we can provide.

So what we need to do is make sure being a carer is something we’re not scared to talk about publicly and we all see supporting people in their caring role  as  our business. This means we need to get beyond the people who already think of themselves as a carer, out to the wider population of people who think they’re “just” someone’s dad, or mum, or daughter, or brother, or neighbour, or friend.  This week – helping to kick off Carers Week –  in partnership with Sainsbury’s we’re working with some Carers Centres in London to raise awareness amongst   carers locally and give them a chance to find out more about the support that is available, even if they don’t think of themselves as a carer already. If it works, we hope to roll this out more widely.

It’s great that an organisation with as wide a reach as Sainsbury’s sees the importance of carers and  is prepared to put so much work into this. If they can, surely others can too .

More about Carers Trust’s “Hidden Carers” project in partnership with Sainsburys

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June 15, 2012 - Posted by | Hidden carers | , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Fantastic Blog!
    So true, if everyone works together we can make a real difference!
    Thank you Sainsburys for getting involved and helping raise awareness of carers; this is so awesome!

    Comment by caitlinswish | June 15, 2012 | Reply

  2. Our carers centre is working with FIVE different Sainsbury’s this week!

    Comment by charles47 | June 19, 2012 | Reply


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