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Carers' week, 8-14 June 2015

10 June 2015

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Carers UK who arrange Carers' week.

Carers' week is an annual event and was created in order to highlight the challenges and huge responsibilities taken on by Carers.

It is also an opportunity for the community to recognise and acknowledge the huge contribution that carers make to both families and communities throughout the UK.

Deciding to become a carer is realistically a huge act of kindness. It can ultimately mean that you may face having to give up much of your lifestyle, your job and also many social activities.

Carers' week this year is focusing on the building of carer friendly communities. The importance of this is that it will hopefully create communities that support carers in the extensive work that they do in terms of looking after their loved ones.

It is also a good opportunity to highlight the importance of recognising that the carers are also individuals who have needs of their own.

An example of this is that carers are entitled to claim a care allowance. This is the main benefit available for those who care for seriously ill, disabled or elderly loved ones.

With millions of carers within the UK, it is important to raise awareness they are entitled to claim this benefit, and any other support which may be available to them. The amount payable to them can be very valuable and in some way, can offer an acknowledgement of their self-sacrificing work.

Unfortunately, a lot of carers are unaware that this benefit is available and as such, over £1 billion in allowance remains unclaimed. (source - www.carersuk.org)

Additionally, without the knowledge that they can claim this benefit, caring families could find themselves in financial hardship or debt.

Due to the unselfish nature of carers, they can tend to concentrate on the needs of those that they care for and may forget that they also have their own needs.

Overall carers' week is a fantastic opportunity to focus on what it means to be carer, to acknowledge their very hard work and to ensure that the community as a whole offers support to them where possible.