The problem for unpaid carers is that they have few rights and resources but many roles and responsibilities. Discuss this statement in the context of entitlements and support for carers.

Authors Avatar by missnickynunu (student)

The problem for unpaid carers is that they have few rights and resources but many roles and responsibilities.

Discuss this statement in the context of entitlements and support for carers in 2010.

Within this essay I aim to explore the valuable role unpaid carers play, their responsibilities, rights and entitlements. To do this I aim to examine the impact their caring role can have on their life, in terms of giving up employment, social activities, emotional and physical health and the lack of funding available for them to cope. The current legislation and recent polices will be examined to explore how they have developed to focus on the rights and recognition of unpaid carers. I hope to highlight the importance of the caring role and how new strategies and support needs to be implemented to enable carers to have a life alongside their caring role.

Around 6.8million adults in Britain are carers. They provide care and support, on an unpaid basis, to relatives, friends and neighbours who are sick, disabled or elderly and who would not otherwise be able to manage (Brammer, 2010). For such a long time, carers have been almost invisible – taken for granted by those who provide services, or patronised, or (worst of all) treated as ‘part of the problem’. Carers make sacrifices of money, energy and time, and have been left unsupported, right up to the point where their own health has collapsed and they themselves have required care (Jordan, 1990:26). The caring role can for some individuals take over their entire life. Carers may have to give up employment to become a full time carer as they could be the only person who is available to care for the individual and their caring role could be up to 24 hours a day. Everyone has different experiences of caring and carers come from a diversity of differing lifestyles and circumstances. Some carers have a passion to help others and will provide unconditional amounts of care and time not only to their direct family, but also to neighbours, friends and members of the community. However, in some cases, carers feel they have a duty to provide care for the individual because it’s their partner, sibling or parent and can see it as more of a burden. Caring, like many other roles has it advantages and disadvantages. Some carers get a great sense of achievement when the service user responds to them in a positive way. In some cases days out with the rest of the family, shopping duties or group sessions may be disrupted or not as frequent due to the capabilities of the person they are caring for. Carers want a good quality of life for the service user and will put as much effort into achieving that as possible. They also want to know that the person they are caring for will be taken care of when they are unable to continue to provide care for them. Carers are able to speak on behalf of people who are unable to speak for themselves, which allows their views, needs and wishes to be taken into consideration. Support groups and support networks are a key factor for carers. Carers feel empowered when they receive help and support from other groups of carers. Therefore, more funding needs to be made available; this will enable more support centres to open and to stay open.

Still in 2010, unpaid carers have few entitlements, some are available to all carers without an assessment and some are available via a carer’s assessment. The East Riding Carers Support Service offers advice and information to all carers about benefits, knowledge about support groups and where to find them and how to access them. They also offer information regarding stress-busting and relaxation sessions to enable the carer to have a brake from their role. A quarterly newsletter has been produced for carers, designed to keep them informed of any changes and details of carer’s emergency cover register in case they require emergency care. East Riding Carers Support offers services which are available through a carer’s assessment these include: relief sitting service, short flexible breaks, Direct Payments instead of social care and internet shopping (60+ only). It is recognised through an assessment of needs that it is vitally important to ensure the carer is taken care of physically and emotionally. There are also voluntary services which offer support through carer’s centres and carers support services. These have been put in place to offer help and support to carers to enable them to ensure they are receiving the correct benefits. It also gives them a chance to meet with other carers and get advice and support from them. These services are often funded out of carers grants (approx £225million) or lottery related. The future of these services is uncertain as the funding is very scarce and often disappears quickly. However, studies have highlighted the government has realised how important these services are to the wellbeing of carers and aims to implement new policies and strategies by 2018 to combat this.

Join now!

Carers often find respite care to be beneficial to themselves and the person they care for. Respite care provides the carer with short-term, temporary relief from their caring role; they may wish to go out shopping, socializing or complete an educational course. Respite may be provided through the local authority as a result of the carers’ assessment. There are different forms of respite care available to carers (The Royal Princes Trust for Carers, 2005-2010). Firstly, there is residential respite where the service user goes away to be looked after by someone else for a period of time. This could ...

This is a preview of the whole essay

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay


This essay aims to discuss the demanding responsibilities carers have in the context of limited rights. It is well-researched and the appropriate details are present: numbers of carers in the UK, relevant law and policy. However regarding the latter, there isscope to actually name a few more policy documents relating to the topic. The writer also needs to ensure that s/he is clear about the fact that direct payments can be used to pay for social care, rather than just in place of social care. The legal instrument that introduced direct payments could have been referred to. This shows that the writer is knowledgeable about the area. Nevertheless, on the whole the essay question is addressed well. Referencing is excellent and the writing style is good. 4/5