Carers Support West Sussex are with you no matter what

Everyday we are all navigating big issues and anxieties around keeping our “social distance” and wanting to do something about the apparent isolation the COVID-19 pandemic has caused for ourselves, our families and friends, neighbours and members of our community.

Battling with big questions and anxieties around distance and isolation…

I cannot speak for all but what I hear from our teams working with carers is so many questions about what the national, local and individual (e.g. from individual shops, care providers etc.) guidance or restrictions are and how they impact them and their caring role.

It is not that any of us have lost the ability to interpret instruction, or even to follow it – although that could be a whole new debate. It is that we are struggling with the volume of information and its ever-changing state.

What is the current guidance?

Please remember – you can call us to help with this. We cannot always give you a definitive answer, but we can help you through some of the information. There are also really good resources out there that are regularly updated. This source targets older people but honestly, I think it is as useful guide no matter what.

Also note there is specific information available from our partners at Carers Trust and Carers UK.

We have heard so much pain and anguish from carers who need a break, want to see their loved ones in a care home or hospital or need a key treatment or test for their cared for and it had been delayed for such a long time – we know how tough it all is.

We are with you on this no matter what

And what about isolation?

There are so many new words and phrases that have seeped into our day to day vocabulary over the last four months – social distance, furlough, bubble…

One word which remains clear is: ‘isolation’. This whole scary period has left many people more isolated than ever before. For carers the numbers of people affected by loneliness is significant:

New figures released during Carers Week during June 2020, show an estimated 4.5 million people in the UK have become unpaid carers as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Source.

This is on top of the 9.1 million unpaid carers who were already caring before the outbreak, bringing the total to 13.6 million.

2.7 million women (59%) and 1.8 million men (41%) have started caring for relatives who are older, disabled or living with a physical or mental illness.

Many carers were already isolated before and we know this from our work with carers and our own local stats for West Sussex from December 2019.

Carers who responded to that study talked of having some social contact (49%) but not enough with a further 18% saying that they had very little social contact and feeling totally isolated. The top four issues for Carers then were:

  • Feeling tired (86%)
  • Feeling stressed (76%)
  • Disturbed sleep (69%)
  • Feeling depressed (55%)

We know that whatever we do with and for you over the next coming months needs to support you whilst keeping you and those you care for safe.

We are with you no matter what – we know that caring can be both tough and wonderful all at the same time.

Please don’t be alone during this time – this charity’s team of staff and volunteers are here to help – whatever the language we use (keeping it clean of course), whatever the issue we can be “by your side” safely and honestly.

Sonia Mangan
Chief Executive