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Guest blog – Caring for the carers

Louise Goldsmith

Louise Goldsmith is Leader of West Sussex County Council.

A few weeks ago I met someone I hadn’t seen for a while. She told me that her husband’s dementia had become worse.

He needed more care and attention and she was now a full-time carer. “My life has changed considerably over the last few months”, she told me.

It is becoming an increasingly familiar story. Many couples in their later years are having their world changed significantly when one of them becomes the main carer due to physical infirmity, ill health or dementia.

Since the Social Care Bill last year, West Sussex County Council has renewed its focus on helping and supporting our carers in West Sussex.

We offer a free online carer’s assessment. I am pleased to say that my acquaintance had done the assessment and told me it was very useful.

The assessment can be done in the privacy of your home, either online or paper, and helps in providing options for a carer and a plan for the future.

There is a wide range of help and advice for carers, particularly online. Two useful websites are:

You can also download a new carers app called Jointly. We’ve teamed up with Carers UK so that it is free for West Sussex carers. It allows you to store and share important information, set appointments, allocate tasks, save files and manage medication. To find out more go to and use the promotional code DGTL2948 to download it for free.

In West Sussex there are over 84,000 adults who are carers and an estimated 6,000 young carers aged under-18.

This is a big number and to all of these people, wherever you are in our county, I want to say a huge thank you. You really are the backbone of our communities.

Carers go from the very young right up to the very old and all ages in between. People selflessly giving of their time and love to care for a loved one, often while balancing the demands of a job and other family commitments.

Simple things such as having some ‘me time’ or quiet and down time.

Being a carer is no easy task and having spoken to carers one of the easiest things to do is to forget about a carer’s own needs. Simple things such as having some ‘me time’ or quiet and down time.

Going out and meeting a friend for coffee or lunch, or perhaps just randomly bumping into someone in the community and having a 10 or 15 minute chat. All these social interactions help to break down the isolation that impacts on carers young and old, it helps carers to feel connected again.

If you are a carer and would like support or a bit of advice, please contact Carers Support West Sussex by calling 0300 028 8888 or visit

By | 2017-08-17T10:15:12+00:00 July 20th, 2016|Blog|2 Comments


  1. Al September 8, 2016 at 2:54 am - Reply

    Your colleague James Walsh said carers should “adequately rewarded for the ‘demanding role they play”. You also call us the “backbone of our communities” so guess what our reward is.

    Yep for most carers, who often work over 50 hours a week dealing with challenging mental and physical disabilites, it’s an amazing 62 quid a week carers allowance.

    Now compare that to many senior WSCC council employees, quite a few get over 100 grand (per annum) and the local press reports you’re on 190 grand a year. So do we feel rewarded ? Not Really.

    As for the question of support, wasn’t so long ago that WSCC cut £32.02m from it’s social care budget. That in turn put even more pressure and work onto carers. But thats OK, as we got an app, which we have to pay 2.99 to “join” and requires a modern smartphone!

  2. Mr Derek Cornish February 15, 2018 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    If I recall. The increase in Council Tax last year 2017 was because of the Increase in Social Care for the elderly. Now, I read that the proposed increase in Council Tax, this year is again being blamed on the Increase In Social Care, for the elderly.
    I am a 80 year old full time Carer for my wife, who has M.S. But I don’t get any Social Care, Respite, or a Penny of Carers Allowance. Why? because I am a pensioner.
    They say, that the increase in Council Tax is going to be 6%. My state pension, will be increased by 3% and that is classed as taxable income. Which, is reported to be the lowest in Europe.
    There should be more respect for todays pensioners, when setting local government taxes.

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