Carers UK recently published figures stating that there were 6.5 million carers across the UK. This included 20% of all people aged 50-64, and 1.3 million people aged 65 or over. These carers are people that shouldn’t be struggling financially, but will be due to their age.
Carers aged 50 and above might be unable to work. They will be providing care on a very limited budget. Financial support may be available, but won’t always be enough.
Even the younger generations of carers have their difficulties. 178,000 are under the age of 18, so won’t have their own good source of income, and a further 2.4 million people are ‘sandwich carers’, balancing their care of an elderly relative with raising their own families. Clearly, that doesn’t leave a lot of spare money.
Affordable Equipment for Carers
Carers without a large pot of savings to dip into will still need the right equipment for the job. These are a few of the many useful products that are available for a reasonable price:
Research shows that 93% of carers provide practical help, such as preparing meals. Whilst a majority of this will be absolutely necessary, there are some elderly people that would be capable of preparing their own food and drink if only they had the right tools. Simple things like jar and bottle openers can make all the difference, without costing a fortune, whilst a kettle tipper will enable your loved one to safely pour their own drinks. When you can’t be there for every cup of tea, that kind of help is invaluable.
71% of carers provide personal care. These are the jobs that you’ve probably been insensitively told that someone else “couldn’t do”, as though it’s an option or a choice.
One product to help with this is the Waterbag Shower, which enables you to provide a quick shower on the go, anywhere in the house. The elderly person that you’re caring for can sit in a plastic chair, in an easy-to-dry place, and receive a warm shower without the struggle of getting to a plumbed-in location. It’s also possible to buy rolls of anti-slip material, including products that can be used in existing baths and showers, to make this task safer for everyone.
87% of carers provide emotional care and support. This can include regular phone calls to reduce loneliness, visits in person or long talks to help someone to vent or rant about their situation. Often, emotional care is as simple as fielding a call from a disorientated, confused and scared individual with Dementia or Alzheimer’s, when they forget what day it is or what their routine involves.
The Day Clock can help someone to keep their independence, reducing that sense of panic and confusion. It features a simple design with a clock hand that points to the right day of the week. You might even want to create a separate chart, stuck next to the Day Clock, indicating the kinds of things that happen on that day. A simple “Monday: Visit from Daughter” can be a huge reassurance.
Memory games, and props, can also provide valuable help to people that struggle with the art of conversation.
The Financial Impact of Caring
The report also stated that 30% of carers had seen a drop in income of £20,000 per year or more, as a result of becoming a carer. Almost half of carers had to cut back on their own essentials, such as heating and food. 44% had ended up in debt. 10% had completely used up their savings.
More support should be available to those that provide full-time or part-time care. Where it’s not adequate, it does at least help to know that there are some useful low-priced products to help.