Trauma of daily life exposed by carers


The reality of caring for loved ones revealed on social media by Scotland's army of carers 

6th June 2016 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Carers across Scotland have been exposing the brutal and often harrowing reality of their daily lives via social media to highlight their plight as part of Carers Week.

Using the hashtag #RealCarersWeek, the campaign aims to show the plight of the country’s estimated 800,000 carers - including around 44,000 people under the age of 18.

Encouraged to be as open as possible, thousands of carers took to social media to reveal the challenge of daily life when caring for a loved one.

“Woken four times in three hours to tend to child experiencing minor seizures. I also hold down a job. No minute of any day is free from worry,” writes Carol Ann from Moray on Facebook.

Lynn Johnstone tweeted: “My husband is dying but I still need to work to feed my family. Because caring apparently doesn’t pay.”

Peter Gracey, who is 77 and looks after his 52 year old son who has Down's Syndrome, described the depression he has had to deal with for the last 20 years and added: “I’ve no time to think about myself. Probably a good thing. I live for my son. He’s all I have. I have no life.”

It comes as new research launched for Carers Week 2016 reveals life chances of many who care for family members and friend, are being damaged by inadequate support from local services.

What’s more, when carers face a lack of understanding about their caring role from the overall community, the negative impact on their health, wellbeing, relationships and finances is exacerbated.

No minute of any day is free from worry - Carol Ann

Three-quarters of carers (73%) with some of the most intensive caring responsibilities say their community does not understand or value their caring role, resulting in high numbers of carers struggling to balance other areas of their lives alongside caring.

One carer said: “As a carer attempting to get understanding, advice, support and emergency care from the ‘community’ – such as GP, public transport, social services, dentist pharmacies and hospitals – it can be very challenging, exhausting and beyond stressful.”

When carers are supported by their community, they face far fewer barriers to having a life outside of their caring role, the research showed.

Simon Hodgson, who leads the Carers Week partnership in Scotland, said: "This report comes at an opportune moment with a new government forming in Scotland.

"We’re calling on individuals, organisations and governments to think about what they can do to improve the lives of carers in their community.”

Mental health charity Support in Mind Scotland and the National Mental Health Carers Forum are also using Carers Week to launch a campaign to raise awareness of the rights of mental health carers. 

One in four people will experience and mental health problem at some point in their lives and one in 100 of the population will experience schizophrenia, psychosis or another serious illness.

Frances Simpson, chief executive of Support in Mind Scotland, said: “This Carers Week, we are calling for recognition by politicians and decision-makers of the specific needs and rights of mental health carers so that they can ask for and be given the specialist help and support they need."