Carers Week 2022, or National Carers Week, is taking place this week, but what exactly is it and how can you get involved?
In this article, we’ll explore:
- What is Carers Week?
- When is Carers Week 2022?
- What is this year’s theme?
- How can you show your support?
What is Carers Week?
Carers Week is a yearly campaign that aims to highlight the challenges faced by carers, and recognise the outstanding contribution that unpaid carers make to their families, friends and communities up and down the UK.
Anyone who looks after a family member or friend who has a mental or physical illness, a disability, an addiction, or requires additional support as they age, is a carer. Caring responsibilities can have a huge impact on the carer’s life, both day-to-day and long term, affecting relationships, health, finances, school and work. In some cases, the individuals involved might be unaware they’ve become a carer as the transition from short-term help to long-term care can sometimes be subtle. Therefore, another aim of Carers Week is to help people recognise if they’ve become an unpaid carer, signpost what help might be available, and encourage them to reach out for help when they need it.
Though Carers Week focuses on carers in the UK, the challenges faced by carers are universal, even more so in low- and middle-income countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh and India, where the awareness and support of carers isn’t as strong as in the UK.
When is National Carers Week 2022 in the UK?
Carers Week 2022 is taking place between 6th to 12th June 2022.
However, activities in support of Carers Week started ahead of time, and at the time of writing, 2,103 actions have already been pledged for Carers Week 2022, according to www.carersweek.org.
Other Awareness Days for Carers
There are other UK focused carer-related awareness days scheduled for 2022 which include:
- Young Carers Action Day – 16th March 2022
- Carers Rights Day – 25th November 2022
Unfortunately, neither Nepal, India or Bangladesh currently have carer awareness days, which just goes to show how little recognition and acknowledgement there is of the need to support carers in these countries compared to the UK. We are doing something about this, and this year we are organising a Carers Day in October across the three countries, so look out for more about that later in the year.
What is the Theme of Carers Week 2022?
Every year Carers Week has a different theme. The theme for Carers Week 2022 is ‘Making caring visible, valued and supported’.
Essentially, this year’s Carers Week is about promoting the visibility of unpaid carers wherever they may be, ensuring that the value of the care that they give is recognised, providing information and support to carers where and when they need it, and making sure they are aware of said support.
At Carers Worldwide, we think that these three principles are vital to ensuring that carers’ own needs are met. The work we do supporting our charity partners in Nepal, India and Bangladesh to include carers into their programmes, strives to ensure that carers are acknowledged and seen, that the care they give is recognised and, in particular, that there is support that they can access as and when required. Everything we do has the aim of making caring and carers visible, valued and supported.
Furthermore, each day of Carers Week will have a certain focus:
- Monday 6th June: Launch of Carers Week + Health and Social Care Issues Affecting Carers
- Tuesday 7th June: Work and Employment
- Wednesday 8th June: Visible, Valued and Supported
- Thursday 9th June: Younger Carers
- Friday 10th June: Older Carers
- Saturday 11th June: Mental Health and Wellbeing
- Sunday 12th June: Reflections on Carers Week 2022
Why Have Carers Week?
The chances are, most people will become a carer or require care at some point in their life. In the UK, roughly 1 in 8 adults (around 6.5 million people) are carers. Looking across Europe, this figure is even higher, at 20% of the population. If we used 20% to estimate the number of carers in other countries, this would mean that there are more than 273 million carers in India alone.
As caring is informal, it tends to be unrecorded and as a result it is impossible to determine how many carers there are in the world. In fact, there are no figures for the number of unpaid family carers in India, Nepal or Bangladesh as nobody has attempted to count them (yet) – that shows how little recognition there is of the issue. Our work at government level in the three countries is aimed towards changing this situation and we have started working with officials in Karnataka state, India to include a question on carers in the next state census, so we hope that situation will begin to change.
For a circumstance that affects so many people, the topic of unpaid carers isn’t raised nearly enough. This is why Carers Week is so important. This week gives everyone the chance to raise awareness of carers and their challenges, helping to improve the amount and quality of support available to them.
How to Get Involved
Pledge your support for Carers Week on their website and help spread awareness for carers and their challenges. You could even get involved with an activity! Find one near you or set up your own event, such as a coffee morning, a tip-sharing session or an art exhibition. Even just talking about it and spreading awareness via social media will contribute (make sure you use the hashtag #carersweek!).
Also, don’t forget you can support Carers Worldwide and the work we do helping unpaid family carers in India, Bangladesh and Nepal by donating here.