With the festive season just around the corner, we are all more likely to be looking out for older neighbours or vulnerable families who might need a little extra support.  For those who are looking after a loved one, the impact on their own lives during the holiday season can often be magnified.  So who are our ‘silent carers’?

Many ‘carers’ do not consider themselves as such because they are first and foremost a parent, spouse or partner, son or daughter, relative, friend or neighbour.   It is estimated that one in 10 of the UK population is a carer.   Earlier this year, Age UK published a report showing the extent of our ‘invisible but invaluable army’ of the oldest carers – the statistics are quite an eye opener:

  • Over the past seven years the number of carers aged 80 and over has rocketed from 301,000 to 417,000, an increase of nearly 39%. Now 1 in 7 people aged 80 and over provide some form of care to family or friends.
  • The total number of carers aged 65 and over who are providing informal care for another person has risen from nearly 1.7 million (1,675,000) to over two million (2,076,000) in the last seven years.

So often a loved one caring for another does not have the time or inclination to seek out what help is available.  As a result they can often miss out on services, support, advice and benefits which may be available.

If you know of someone who might be one of our ‘invisible’ army of carers, there are many organisations and groups that can offer help and support.   Here are a few helpful links to organisations that maybe useful.

In West Sussex a charity called Carers Support West – has regional offices throughout county.  The charity helps carers from all communities by providing practical information and emotional support.  Carers Support is associated with the larger charity Carers Trust – – which operates throughout the UK.  Both these charities offer an invaluable source of contacts that can offer individual or group support to those caring for someone with short or long term illness or a disability, including counselling, benefits and financial advice.  Indeed, over the last four years, the number of carers registering with the West Sussex Carers Support charity has risen by 48%.

Citizens Advice – can offer help and support to those responsible for looking after someone who has a disability, is getting old or has become ill, from practical help to make day-to-day life easier to advice about benefits like Carer’s Allowance.

Age – has published a useful leaflet called ‘Advice for Carers – a practical guide’ which can be downloaded from the website.

Collectively the team at Otus Live-in Care has many years’ experience, both professional and personal, around the issues carers can face.   We are always happy to offer help and advice, or talk about the possibility of respite care from an Otus registered carer, without obligation.  Call the Otus Live-in Care team on 01403 710119.

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