Giving a voice to carers

Steve Ford

I was talking to a carer recently who mentioned how easy it is for her to neglect her own needs, and how lonely and isolating life can be at times.

Today we celebrate the tenth Carers Rights Day, set up by the charity Carers UK. The day aims to shout about the great work that carers do, and make sure that carers are aware of the benefits and support they are entitled to.

Dave Clark from our Policy and Campaigns team used to work at Carers UK and helped organise that first Carers Rights Day. He has been telling me this week about how much the day has grown in importance. On that first day ten years ago, just over 100 groups ran events.

This year around 1500 local groups are taking part, from carers' centres, GPs' surgeries, councils, libraries, charities, hospices and many other community groups - reflecting the large numbers of carers who struggle to find out what support is available to them.

We are committed to supporting carers of people with Parkinson’s, and this year we have held our own carers' information events in every region of the UK. It’s shocking that despite increased awareness of the true cost of caring, carers still get the lowest income replacement benefit, at just £53.10 per week.

We support the Carers Poverty Charter to reform carers' benefits, and you can add your support to this campaign.

Our own free publication, The Carer's Guide, offers help and advice on all aspects of living with someone with Parkinson’s, and and our online discussion forum has a space where carers can share experiences and support each other through the changing circumstances that Parkinson’s can bring.

Let’s hear it for all carers in the UK.

Steve Ford is Chief Executive of the Parkinson's Disease Society

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