Many people have started to provide care to relatives since the Covid-19 pandemic began and, according to Carers UK research, 78 per cent of those who were already looking after someone have found the amount of care they are now providing has increased.
The message Carer Support Wiltshire wants to pass onto all of these carers is – plan for the future now as much as you can.
Planning early means that if things get more difficult down the line and you start to find it difficult to cope you will know what help is available to you and have support already in place.
Vincent Mobey, from Cricklade, cares for his wife Maggie who has Parkinson’s. He said: “I’d really recommend improving your knowledge of the world you now live in.
"My GP surgery introduced me to Carer Support Wiltshire and we also joined Parkinson’s UK, the Swindon branch, and they’ve been really supportive. They put on lots of social events and we’re able to comfortably mix with other carers and people with Parkinson’s.
“I volunteer at Parkinson’s UK hosting their Cricklade café, which is very successful. I’ve met some lovely new friends of all different ages. Whatever health issues the person you care for has, people should know there are support groups specific to their medical condition that give a lot of support.”
Anne-Marie Nuth is a registered nurse, carers lead and service transformation manager at Wiltshire Health and Care. She also cares for her parents.
She said: “My mum has lived with cancer for many years and my dad is now in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s.
"It is a privilege to be able to provide support to them and there are many, many positives. But, without a doubt, it can be a lonely and difficult journey and I have had my fair share of ‘down’ days. The responsibility can sometimes feel overwhelming.
“I am a proud and resilient nurse whose job it is to care for others and it was not easy for me to accept I, too, needed support. If I had not identified myself as a carer I could have missed out on the invaluable support that is offered to make things easier.
"Carer Support Wiltshire helped me by recognising I needed to stay well to continue to provide support to my parents and to continue working.
"Carers deserve to feel cared for. It is such an important yet often undervalued role."
“It has never been more important than now to support our unpaid carers, many of whom have experienced their support networks dwindling in the national response to Covid.”
To find out more about Carers Rights Day, visit carersupportwiltshire.co.uk.