Good to Know

Unpaid carers – the hidden heroes in lockdown

Posted May 18th, 2020

Unpaid carers – the hidden heroes in lockdown
  1. As soon as the lockdown began, many families found they were suddenly spending a lot more time caring for loved ones. Due to the pandemic, professional carers across the country have had to reduce the number of visits they make. This has left many vulnerable people without the support they need, and forced unpaid carers to put their lives on hold to provide the help that’s so urgently required. 

     On top of dealing with reduced services, unpaid carers are having to cope with life under lockdown, with many now unable to leave their homes, even for shopping or exercise. This has left many unpaid carers feeling isolated and alone. Luckily, there is help out there. Charities and organisations across the UK are working hard to ensure that carers, and those they support, have the resources they so desperately need. Keep reading to find out more. 

    Providing extra care 

    With professional carers unable to visit many homes to offer support, loved ones are having to step in to fill the gap. This has resulted in unpaid carers spending more and more time looking after their loved ones. According to @WhichUK, “70% are now having to provide more care than before – on average, 10 extra hours of unpaid care a week.” Recent research shows that around 40% of carers have had a care package stopped completely or reduced during lockdown. With a high number of carers working from home and managing childcare on top of their unpaid care role, this has left many people across the UK unable to cope.

    Going online

    A lot of the support that’s currently available to unpaid carers can be found online. A number of GP surgeries are now offering digital appointments. This should make it easier to get medical attention for your loved one without leaving the house. Talk to your surgery to find out about the online services they offer. Some charities, universities and professional bodies, including Working Families, The University of Exeter and National Autistic Society, are also offering a range of digital resources designed to support carers and provide a little respite. Accessing these services could help you to cope with the lockdown and ongoing pandemic.

  2. Taking time off

     If your loved one is no longer receiving professional visits because of the lockdown, you may need to take time off to care for them. If you haven’t been furloughed by your employer, talk to your boss about getting some extra time off to provide the support your loved one needs. On April the 4th, the government revised their guidelines and made it clear that people who need to take time off to care for a loved one can be furloughed. This means that you would get 80% of your salary paid by the government while you provide care to your loved one.