In sickness and in health

Carers Week takes place annually and highlights the vital contribution made by carers to their families and communities in providing unpaid care for someone who is ill, frail or disabled. This year, the theme for the week is ‘In sickness and in health’ and takes place from 18th – 22nd June.

The theme for the week calls for better financial and practical support, regular health checks and more carers’ breaks for the diverse range of people who have caring responsibilities.

Research carried out by Carers Northern Ireland and the University of Leeds found that family carers are saving the government an estimated £4.4bn in Northern Ireland per year. This works out at on average £21,000 per carer per year. (£110 bn in the whole of the UK)

It is estimated that there are 207,000 carers in NI.

55% of carers in Northern Ireland are aged 45 or over, with 21% of carers being over 60 years old;

One quarter of all carers provide more than 50 hours care per week.

The Trust’s Carer’s Co-ordinator Anne Cummings said: “Many carers in the Northern Trust area suffer due to a lack of understanding about what they do – some don’t even recognise themselves as carers. This has a real and negative impact on their health, finances, working and social life, and general wellbeing. The Trust supports cares through a range of services”.

Celebrity and TV presenter Fiona Phillips has cared for both her parents, she says: “From personal experience, I know caring can demand a lot of your time and attention, which in some cases can put pressure on other areas in your life such as financial responsibilities and relationships. These problems can prove to be exhausting and mentally gruelling and can really take its toll on your health and wellbeing. I hope Carers Week can again help to achieve change and make a real difference to the lives of carers in this country.”

For more information about Northern Trust resources for Carers, or the events above, contact Anne Cummings on 028 2766 1392 or email anne.cummings@northerntrust.hscni.net