Foreword from Chris Martin, Hywel Dda Health Board Chairman and Carers' Champion
e to Hywel Dda Health Board’s carers webpage. The Health Board recognises and values the role of carers within our comm
unities, supporting those who need help because of old age, physical or learning disability or ill health, including m
ental ill health. We consider that the role of carers is of such im
portance that it is appropriate to have a Board Mem
ber undertake the role of Carers’ Cham
Within Hywel Dda Health Board, I have been appointed as Carers’ Cham
pion. Being a carer m
yself for a beautiful autistic son I am
well placed to help and support this key role in our organisation. I understand the challenges carers face on a day to day basis and recognise the huge contribution we all m
ake in supporting our loved ones. Thank you for being there and thank you for your comm
ent and dedication.
responsible for prom
oting awareness of the role of carers am
bers of the Health Board and m
aintaining the profile of carers within the three counties of Pem
arthenshire and Ceredigion. I also act as a figurehead for internal and external comm
unication on the subject of carers.
Information for carers
Definition of a carer
A carer is someone, of any age, who provides unpaid support to family or friends who could not manage without this help. This could be caring for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems.
Anyone can become a carer, in most cases becoming a carer is not out of choice, it just happens.
Young carers are children and young people who look after someone in their family who has an illness, a disability, or is affected by mental ill-health or substance misuse.
Young carers often take on practical and/or emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult. The tasks undertaken can vary according to the nature of the illness or disability, the level and frequency of need for care and the structure of the family as a whole.
A young carer may do practical tasks, such as cooking, housework and shopping. And many do physical and personal care, such as dressing, washing, helping with toileting needs as well as managing the family budget, collecting benefits and prescriptions.
Some young carers may undertake high levels of care, whereas for others it may be frequent low levels of care. Either can impact heavily on a child or young person.
Why do carers need support?
Carers are the largest source of care and support in each area of the UK
. It is in everyone’s interest that they are supported. Taking on a caring role can mean facing a life of poverty, isolation, frustration, ill health and depression. Many carers give up an income, future employment prospects and pension rights to become a carer. Many carers also work outside the home and are trying to juggle jobs with their responsibilities as carers. The majority of carers struggle alone and do not know that help is available to them. Carers say that access to information, financial support and breaks in caring are vital in helping them manage the impact of caring on their lives.
Carers experience many different caring situations. A carer could be someone looking after a new baby with a disability or caring for an elderly parent, someone supporting a partner with a substance misuse or mental health problem. Despite these differing caring roles, all carers share some basic needs. All carers also need services to be able to recognise the individual and changing needs throughout their caring journey.
Carers often suffer ill-health due to their caring role. To care safely and maintain their own physical and mental health and well-being, carers need information, support, respect and recognition from the
professionals with whom they are in contact. Improved support for the person being cared for can make the carer’s role more manageable.
Carers need support to be able to juggle their work and caring roles or to return to work if they have lost employment due to caring.
Post-caring, carers may need support to rebuild a life of their own and reconnect with education, work or a social life.
With an ageing population, Wales
will need more care from friends and family in the future. This is an issue that will touch everyone’s life at some point. Carer support concerns everyone.
Association of Voluntary Services websites
Local Authority websites
Other useful websites
Say 'I'm Fine' ...and Mean It! Carers Booklet
Whether you have been a Carer for a while, or are new to caring, life can feel pretty tough. The good news is that there is a lot of information and support available to you. The bad news is that often we don't know what we are looking for, or it's not that easy to find. This booklet is designed to be a quick read which, whilst we hope will be useful in its own right, will point you in the right direction.