Unpaid carers are some of the unsung heroes of our communities, and in Rochester and Strood one in eight do some kind of voluntary care for a friend or family member. And every day, 6,000 people in the UK will take on these new caring responsibilities.
Sadly, our rapidly ageing population means that the number of people in need of care and support is now beginning to outstrip the numbers of working-age family members able to provide it.
However, I have seen so many examples of local people unexpectedly having to give up so much time and energy to provide unwavering care due to sudden or degenerative illnesses or accidents. But too often the demands of care mean they don’t get chance to seek out support or get identified in the first instance, which leads to social isolation, financial pressure and even physical or emotional illness.
Last week's Carers Week aimed to celebrate and raise awareness of these 6.5 million people in the UK who care for their ill, older or disabled loved ones. It is important we remember that caring is something which will increasingly affect all of us in some way, whether we are providing, or receiving care.
Unpaid carers deserve this recognition and support. That is why I have been encouraging local employers across Rochester and Strood to support the health and wellbeing of carers in their workforce.
In addition, I will also be calling for carers to be better identified and supported by those health and social care professionals who support our society.
I hope you will join me in showing your appreciation and support for these thousands of local individuals. For more information please visit https://www.carersweek.org/