Carers Week runs from the 7th until June 13th. The theme for this years week is ‘Making Carers Visible’.
How can we make Carers visible?
How many times have Carers heard, “I don’t know how you do it. I couldn’t. You are amazing.”
That sentence was said to me so many times over the years. I knew it was well-meaning, and I knew no one was trying to upset me, but I still began to feel uncomfortable by that sentence.
I know it’s a sentence that many of us say in the hopes of sounding supportive.
For me, it became a sentence that translated to “I will never become a Carer, I couldn’t waste my working life like that but hey, well done you for doing it.”
Carers are not unique.
Carers are not angels.
Carers are not unemployed.
Carers are just like you.
They, too, never thought they’d be living their life providing care for someone they love.
They, too, never thought it would happen to their family.
They too said things like, “I could never do that, you’re amazing.”
They gave up their careers, their social life, their circle of friends, their time to themselves without thinking because someone they love needed full-time care.
Do you seriously think you couldn’t do that? Of course, you could, and you would.
We all have our people, those we love without conditions; a parent, a child, a sibling, a spouse, a close friend who may need care at some point – providing that care does not make you special. It makes you human.
What Carers need is an acknowledgement of the work they do. For years, I have begged for the Carers on this island to receive a fair wage. To be removed from the social welfare system and have a more straightforward way to access supports for the ones they care for and themselves.
“Making Carers Visible” can only happen with honesty from Carers and a listening ear from the general public. The pleasantries need to stop, while the realities of being a Carer need to be talked openly about without judgement.
Carers more than ever need the public to help them change policies, change systems and supports to do their job to the best of their ability.
There is no union. There is no time for ‘striking’ like so many other working people can do (rightly so)when they are not treated fairly in their work.
Carers have to rely on the support of the public and some brilliant charities across Ireland.
Carers need a break before they have a breakdown. Prevention is always better than cure.
This week, tune in to the various events online run by Care Alliance and show your support by listening to the Carers and the organisations that need your help.
For more information on Carers Week please click here