A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.
Each carer’s experience is unique to their own circumstances. The causes of someone taking on caring responsibilities are varied but can include:
- Serious physical illness
- Long-term physical disability
- Long-term neurological conditions
- Mental health problems
- Learning difficulties
Duties of a carer – Just as the reasons why someone becomes a carer vary greatly, the variety of tasks that a carer fulfils is diverse. They can include the following duties:
- Practical household tasks such as cooking, cleaning, washing up, ironing, paying bills and financial management.
- Personal care such as bathing, dressing, lifting, administering medication and collecting prescriptions.
- Emotional support such as listening, offering advice and friendship.
Although the distinction is often made between a full-time or part-time carer, there is not a minimum time requirement or age restriction that “qualifies” someone as being more or less of a carer.
Someone in their seventies who cares 24/7 for their spouse with severe dementia is a carer. A teenager who offers emotional support and helps to keep the household running as and when the fluctuating nature of their parent’s mental health requires it — is also a carer. The two situations are very different. Both are individual examples of the 7 million carers in the UK today.
Carers play a pivotal role in today’s society, currently saving the UK economy £87 billion every year in potential care costs, which amounts to more than the government’s total spend on the NHS. This means that on average, every carer looking after an ill or disabled relative saves the national economy £15,260 per year.
We believe this valuable contribution should be recognised and respected, which is why we work closely with Gateshead Adult Social Care and Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group to make sure carers’ are represented and treated fairly across the borough.
Who are Gateshead Carers?
Gateshead Carers Association was established in 1996 by a group of individuals in response to needs identified by carers with the aim of providing them with information, support and training. Gateshead Carers Association became a registered charity in 2007 and a company limited by guarantee. We currently have a membership of approximately 2600 carers which is an increase of 42% since 2011. There are 22,200 carers living in Gateshead (based on 2011 census).
To make a significant positive difference in the lives of adult carers’ by efficiently and effectively providing the highest quality personalised carer support in Gateshead.
We work to ensure that adult carers;
- Have improved health and wellbeing
- Have an improved quality of life being better able to realise their potential through employment, education and training
- Are treated with respect and dignity and their role is recognised and valued
- Have improved financial health
- Have a life of their own outside of caring
- Have a campaigning voice on issues affecting them.
We help to shape and influence local, regional and national strategies and policies that impact on the lives of carers by being represented on the following partnerships and forums; Carers Trust, North East Carers Trust Regional Managers Group, Gateshead Carers Partnership, Gateshead Advice Partnership, Gateshead Learning Disabilities Partnership Board, Gateshead Patient, User, Carer and Public Involvement Forum, Gateshead Local Engagement Board, Gateshead Health and Social Care Forum, Gateshead Physical Disabilities and Sensory Impairment Partnership Board and Gateshead CEO Group. You can read all about the overall aims and objectives of the organisation in the Gateshead Carers Association_Strategy 2014-17 or by visiting the About Us page
Our dedicated team of Carer Support Workers are here to listen and help make life easier for adult carers in Gateshead. We also work closely with Health & Social Care (HSC) professionals and employers to raise awareness of carer issues by offering tailored training and support. So whether you are a carer, you work with carers’ or you employ someone who is a carer… please get in touch to see how we can support you. Call 0191 4900121 or contact us here.