Pledge your support for Carers Week

To mark Carers Week (8 - 14 June), we’re celebrating the contribution carers make to families and communities across Oxfordshire.

A carer is someone who provides care and support to a family member or someone who has a disability, mental or physical illness, or who needs extra help as they grow older. There are around 6.5 million carers in the UK, looking after older, seriously ill or disabled people.

This year, people across the country are continuing to face new challenges as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Many people are taking on more caring responsibilities for those who need support, in complex and different ways. This may include helping with personal care or practical tasks like shopping, running errands and cooking. Care also involves emotional support or supervision.

Carers need to be recognised for the difficulties they are experiencing and respected for all they are doing because there are a lot of people who are unpaid to perform carer duties. What will you do to recognise, support and celebrate carers? You can pledge your support for carers today.

We’re celebrating carers in all scenarios and their valuable contribution to Oxfordshire communities...

Family carers

Margaret from Bloxham is a mother to 33-year-old Harry, who has Downs Syndrome. Margaret and Harry recently recovered from suspected symptoms of coronavirus. Margaret is a retired nurse and says her experience was very useful to care for herself and her unwell son:

'Harry was on the verge of admission to hospital because he was really unwell. After 10 days he recovered and thankfully he started to feel better but as his carer, I was really worried about him. Harry would normally go to the Redlands Community Support Service but since the service closed due to the coronavirus, the team call every day. They have offered support such as delivering us groceries and they sent Harry an activity pack that included puzzles, seeds to plant and quizzes. As you can see Harry loves music and DJing at Redlands during parties, like at Halloween so he's looking forward to when he can go back to see his friends and share his music.'

We support family carers such as Tanya who cares for her sister-in-law, Ilaine. Ilaine is 55-years-old and she has learning difficulties. Before the coronavirus crisis she attended the Redlands Community Support Service in Banbury, which makes a difference to day-to-day life for Tanya:

'I could not have coped without them. They are consistent and always there which is vital for me as Ilaine’s carer. They are a superb team and they do a phenomenal job; they make our lives better. Thanks to them, I’m able to go out and work as an approved mental health professional because I know Ilaine is in good hands.'

Shared Lives carers

Shared Lives carers share their family and community life with someone who needs support. Nazneen is a Shared Lives carer who welcomed Georgina into her home, in 2012.

'At the time we were new to being Shared Lives carers, so this was a great opportunity for us to show our care and support. At first Georgina was very timid and anxious when faced with challenges or unknown situations. Today after 8 years together, we can happily say that Georgina is a confident, independent and loving woman. Over the years, we’ve supported Georgina to think about her long-term health and it has been great to see her adopt a healthier diet and lifestyle, such as giving up smoking.'

Dementia carers in our county

Action for Carers Oxfordshire are working hard to ensure family carers receive long term specialised support. There are dedicated teams based all around Oxfordshire who are helping carers with emotional support, practical advice and information. The team shared this story with us:

'Norman is in his late seventies and has a vascular dementia diagnosis and was referred directly from the memory clinic in January 2020. He lives with his wife and suffers from acute depression and anxiety due to tragic personal circumstances. Norman was introduced to a Support Worker called Elaine to help him regain his confidence and re-engage with his past interest/hobbies. The team also wanted to provide an element of respite for his wife who is his primary carer. Over time, Norman was able to reconnect with old interests and his confidence has improved greatly. Norman’s wife’s level of stress has been reduced and she is now aware of respite care options that were not previously available to her.'

Foster carers

We also want to celebrate foster carers who care for vulnerable children who are unable to live with their parents. They provide the opportunity for them to thrive in a safe, secure and loving home environment for as long as they need it. Fostering makes a positive difference to young people’s lives and it can make a positive difference to your life too. In Oxfordshire we have over 300 fostering families transforming the lives of children and young people, but we still need more carers. Young lives are transformed by foster carers - you can read more here about a story in Banbury.

ID for carers

Oxfordshire County Council is continuing to support carers during the current Coronavirus pandemic by offering a Carers ID. The Carer ID scheme is for paid and independent carers who are providing help and support to youngsters and adults known to Oxfordshire County Council Social Care. Read more.

Information and support available for carers:

  • Dementia Oxfordshire offers carer support and an information helpline: 01865 410210 (Monday to Friday – 9am to 6pm)

  • There are free online sessions for family carers: Safer Moving and Handling at Home starts on Thursday 11th June and Individual Care at Home starts on Thursday 25th June. All courses are booked through via michelleevans@carersoxfordshire.org.uk or on 07557 038277