Caring is Sharing – How Can We as a Community Help with the Care Crisis
As populations age, the need for long-term care rises, putting a strain on resources and services. There is a growing care crisis in the UK, as the number of people in need of care continues to outstrip the available services. According to a recent study, one in seven adults in the UK is now providing care for adults aged 50 or over. This care can be emotionally and physically demanding and often comes at a time when we are juggling work and family commitments.
So how can we support those caring for the elderly population? Let’s discover.
Support Unpaid Carers:
The best thing we can do as a community is to support unpaid carers. These are typically family members who give up their time to care for elderly or disabled relatives. According to Carers UK, there are 13.6 million unpaid carers in the UK, providing a vital service to those who need it. This unpaid care is valued at over £132 billion annually.
There are several ways we can support unpaid carers:
- Give them a break by providing respite care. It can be in the form of a few hours of support each week or a longer break for a weekend or holiday.
- Offer practical support, such as help with household tasks or shopping.
- Provide emotional support, for example, by offering to listen to their concerns or just being there for a chat.
Increase Funding for Long-Term Care Services:
Social care is severely underfunded in the UK, with an estimated £700 million shortfall in funding each year. It has led to a cut in services and a decrease in the quality of care. It has a knock-on effect on the NHS, as patients are discharged from the hospital without the necessary support. Whether it’s something as basic as a nurse call system or more complex needs, the lack of funding is putting a strain on care services.
One way to help ease the pressure on care services is to increase funding. It can be done through central government, local councils, or private donations.
Advocate for Reforms in the Social Care Sector:
The UK’s social care system requires reform. Many areas need attention, whether it’s how services are funded or how care is delivered. As a community, we can advocate for these reforms. We can do this by writing to our MPs, raising awareness through the media, or taking part in protests and campaigns.
Some effective ways by which the administered care can improve are:
- Providing more training and development opportunities for social care workers.
- Improving pay and working conditions.
- Encouraging more people to enter the social care sector.
- Introducing a system of free personal care for those over the age of 65.
Carers play an integral role in our society, yet they are often undervalued and unsupported.
Plus, the struggles of carers are often compounded by a lack of practical and financial support. As a community, we must start addressing the care crisis. From small acts of kindness to larger initiatives, there are several ways we can help. Let’s start making a difference today.