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Carers Week – Recognising & supporting carers in the community

Carers Week, takes place every year, but what exactly is it and how can you get involved?

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 2024 in the UK?

Carers Week 2024 is taking place between 10th to 16th June 2024.

Other Awareness Days for Carers

There are other care and carer-related awareness days throughout the year which include:
UK focused

Unfortunately, the countries in which we work, Nepal, India or Bangladesh do not have their own dedicated 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 in 2022 we organised the first annual international Carers Day on 19 October across the three countries. 

What is the Theme of Carers Week 2024?

Every year Carers Week has a different theme. The theme for Carers Week 2024 is ‘Putting Carers on the Map’.

The aim of this year’s Carers Week is to highlight the increasing pressure on unpaid carers and to campaign for their recognition and support.

A survey by Carers UK found that for 82% of carers, the impact of caring on their physical and mental health would be a challenge over the coming year, and for nearly 60%, being valued as a carer would improve their well-being.

At Carers Worldwide, 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, by their families, communities and society, 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 sure that unpaid carers are put firmly on the map.

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 9% of people (around 5.7 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

Find an activity 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.


Photo credit: © Iqbal Hossain