THOUSANDS OF UNPAID CARERS ACROSS NORFOLK ARE STILL UNAWARE

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THOUSANDS OF UNPAID CARERS ACROSS NORFOLK ARE STILL UNAWARE

Postby wendy » 24 Nov 2016, 14:36

THOUSANDS OF UNPAID CARERS ACROSS NORFOLK ARE STILL UNAWARE OF THEIR RIGHTS

Nearly 1 in 8 people in Norfolk cares for, unpaid, a friend or family member who, for various reasons, cannot look after themselves.
Being a carer can be difficult, physically and emotionally, but due to a change in law (The Care Act 2014), there is more advice and support on offer; carers now have the same rights to care and support as the people they’re looking after.
Carers’ Rights Day on 25th November is about getting this message out to carers and encouraging them to find out about all of the help and support on offer from Norfolk Carers.
Carers’ rights include:
• If a carer appears to have a need for support they should be offered a Carers’ Assessment by the local authority– which may also lead to practical and emotional support from Norfolk Carers and other organisations.
• Carers have the right to advice to find out about grants, funding and benefits that they may be entitled to, such as Carers Allowance, to manage their finances.
• All employees who care have the right to request flexible working if they have worked for the same employer for 26 weeks, and meet other criteria, and to be treated no less favourably than other employees.
As part of their ‘Think Carer’ campaign, Norfolk Carers is hosting a Tweetchat on 25th November, Carers’ Rights Day, to get views from Carers and local services and organisations on how their communities might become more ‘carer friendly’. They’re asking people to get involved by using #NorfolkCarers.
Kevin Vaughan from Norfolk Carers says:
“People looking after someone else often say that they find it difficult to think of themselves as “a carer”. Because of this, they often don’t seek support until they, or the person they care for, reach crisis point. Seeking information, advice and support at an early stage can help them to find out about their rights, continue caring with confidence and keep the person they care for well. “
Joan, 73, a carer from Hoveton looks after her husband, 75, who has had a brain hemorrhage. She says:
“ I don’t think that I realised that I have rights, or that I might be entitled to a Carer’s Assessment. I feel strongly that more should be done by health professionals, and other services, to identify carers at first contact, to help them find out about their rights, and the support that’s available.”
Christine, 66, from South Norfolk cares for her husband who has Parkinson’s Disease, and a number of other health problems. Caring was taking over her life, but she didn’t mention her caring role to her employer and couldn’t discuss her feelings of frustration and anger with members of her family,
“It’s insidious; you don’t realise that you’re taking on more and more until you’re forced to take stock.”
The crunch came for Christine when she had a panic attack caused by the strain of trying to support her husband’s emotional health. Her daughter insisted she saw a GP and it opened up the support available to her husband. Although this took off some of the strain from her, she found a lifeline at an open day in her local library. There, she met with a member of Norfolk Carers’ support team and at last felt able to talk freely about her problems and express her emotions, “It was the best thing that I could have done - I felt supported.”
Through Norfolk Carers, Christine also tapped into a learning grant, which allowed her to do a writing course. But, she says, more needs to be done to make carers aware of their rights and the information, advice and support available. She’s now passing on information to a neighbour who’s just become a carer,
“Norfolk Carers is an excellent service but more carers need to know about them and get tailored help. Norfolk Carers Handbook and leaflets are available – pick them up and tell other people about them.”
Norfolk Carers offers a range of services including: individual support, breaks for carers details of grants and benefits, Norfolk Carers Handbook and a free Advice Line:
T. 0808 808 9876
Text only: 07497 002864
Website: norfolkcarers.org.uk
Facebook: Norfolk Carers
Twitter: @norfolkcarers
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