A survey carried out for Carers Week, June 9-15th, highlighted that a staggering 95% of carers questioned said they regularly cover up or disguise the fact that their health was suffering in order to continue with their caring responsibilities.1 One-fifth of these carers said they ignored feeling ill “all the time”.
Telecare can transform the life of carers and those they care for by providing support which promotes independence and well-being within the home. It consists of non-intrusive sensors around the home to continually monitor real-time health, safety or environmental incidents. This gives carers invaluable reassurance that immediate help is on hand when needed, enhancing their quality of life and providing them with peace of mind.
On June 10th 2008 the Government announced the new Carers Strategy which outlines the long-term vision for the future care and support of carers. The strategy is underpinned by £255 million and telecare is highlighted as playing a major part in giving carers a degree of freedom as they can pursue their own interests secure in the knowledge the person they are cared for has support in place if they are not there.
Paul Matz, Carers Week Manager said: “It is vital that health professionals on the ground recognise the needs of people who are caring for others and ensure they are receiving the help and attention they deserve. With the right support, caring shouldn’t have to be a demoralising and stressful experience. It can be rewarding and fulfilling - but only if carers themselves are feeling mentally and physically well.”
Ali Rogan, Marketing Director, Tunstall said: “The number of people providing support to relatives or friends with long-term health needs, learning and physical disabilities is set to rise to one in four over the next 40 years. With the lack of formal carers available, the simple fact is that carers today need support, and telecare can go a long way to relieving stress and allowing them to take breaks or continue a career with reduced feelings of guilt.”
The Carers Week survey highlights the effect that caring – whether on a long or short-term basis – can have on the emotional and physical well-being of carers. Carers across the country could be putting their own health at risk by ignoring symptoms or not finding time to visit their GP for help and advice.
There are six million carers in the UK looking after a family member, partner or friend and the latest estimate is that unpaid carers save the country £87 billion a year.2 The new Carers Strategy from the Government demonstrates their renewed commitment to providing a more integrated and personalised level of support and telecare can help restore lost independence and provide carers with support when they need it most.
Carers Week is jointly organised by 10 national charities: Carers UK, Counsel and Care, Crossroads Caring for Carers, Help the Hospices, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, MS Society, Neurological Alliance, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and WRVS.
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Tunstall is the market leading provider of telecare and telehealth solutions, with over 2.5 million users globally. Tunstall’s solutions support older people and those with long-term needs, to live independently, by effectively managing their health and well-being. Tunstall provides technology, expertise and advice to millions of people enabling them to lead independent more fulfilling lives. For more information on how telecare and telehealth can improve quality of life, visit www.tunstall.co.uk