Carers week was a big focus for The Carents Room in June – an opportunity to join forces with our stakeholders and profile our commitment to carers and carents alike.
Carers Week is an annual campaign which aims 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.
This year the theme was “Make caring visible and valued”, a theme which is cemented into the foundations of The Carents Room.
Our consultancy support for Carers Week
We used our social media accounts to support carers week. As part of our consultancy service, our founder – Dr Jackie - was a specialist panel member for the Carers Week forum at Charles Russell Speechly LLP. The forum considered the full range of informal caring - as a spouse or partner, sibling, carent, child or parent and explored key questions such as “what is a carer?”; “where to find support?”; “how to care at a distance?”; and “how can employers help?”.
The ensuing discussions emphasised three common challenges – problems with the label “carer”, the burden of carer guilt, and the challenges of finding information and support for carers - and explored how employers can help to support carers.
Carers or carents?
All of the panel members recognised the difficulty which many of us have in identifying with the label “carer”. For some it conjured up an image they could not relate to, such as “a white middle aged lady who makes lots of cups of tea and sings hymns”. Others expressed concerns about the stigma associated with being labelled as a carer and the historical association of carers as paid roles in long term care services. Once again, our solution – a new label of “carent” was applauded in relation to caring for parents.
Guilt was highlighted as the most dominant, difficult and enduring emotion - this is something we recognise and aim to tackle in the wellbeing support package we are planning and developing.
Finding support and community
The panelists all shared common frustrations in finding good quality and relevant support or communities, with concerns about the time it takes to find relevant information and discover useful groups or services. The “portmanteau” value of The Carents Room was celebrated along with community on social media.
Support at work
The discussion also identified opportunities for employers to support carers at work. These included a supportive organisational culture; professional development which celebrates the capabilities which caring can generate and recognises the role strain and role conflicts which carers experience; opportunities to provide peer support for such as an organisational carers network; signposting to help and advice for specific problem areas; and tailored wellbeing support to tackle the emotional and physical health challenges carers experience (such as delaing with guilt, and prioritising self care).
The panel event was a huge success and emphasised the worth of our bookcase, and our #carents community. Do join us on social media too.
Events like this helped to demonstrate the value of Carers Week but also highlight the need for continued action to help carers, carents, and those they care for and support. They also support the case for The Carents Room and help us benchmark and tailor our ongoing offer to you and our stakeholders.