Dorothy, one of many hero carers in Cheshire West and Chester, believes it’s never been more important to mark Carers Rights Day than during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Carers Rights Day, which takes place on Thursday 26 November, helps carers understand their rights and access support available to them as soon as they need it.
There are approximately 38,000 unpaid carers in Cheshire West and Chester. They can be adults or children who look after a family member, partner or friend because of an illness, frailty, disability, mental health problem or an addiction.
Dorothy is involved with various groups and boards in Cheshire West and Chester to help represent carers and make sure their voices are heard, with her son using the supported living services at Council company Vivo Care Choices.
She has played a key part in the move to light up Chester Town Hall red and white to mark Carers Rights Day.
Dorothy said: “I know what the situation was like for many carers before the pandemic, but COVID-19 has had a far greater impact on carers.
“For me, carers should be highlighted every single day of the year because of all they do, but it’s nice to have these days where we can make all carers feel really appreciated.
“Many places are lit up to mark various causes and I don’t see why carers should be any different so it’s great to see the Council lighting up the Town Hall red and white.
“When people find themselves caring for others, they don’t always know what support’s available to them so this day is really important. We need to make carers aware of all the support available in case they are worried about asking for help.
“For some people, their relatives receive other care and support, but it’s been really challenging not being able to see your loved ones. There was a time during the first lockdown when I hadn’t been to see my son in supported living for 18 weeks. It’s been at least 13 weeks since.
“Others have suddenly had to look after their relatives permanently because of the pandemic and concerns about sending them to services. That’s put increasing pressure on carers.
“We have so many carers doing a great job and it’s important we continue to thank and support them.”
Vivo has been keeping in touch with all its carers and family members throughout the pandemic, offering any support needed and keeping them informed about the latest information and advice.
During the pandemic, many carer services have also been adapted so they can continue to access some level of support where possible. There are a variety of Council-commissioned services that offer support and advice to carers.