Millions of people are carers, and most are unpaid relatives. Although there are local charities to give support, very few offer practical help. And if a relative or friend is disabled or ill, the burden on the carers can sometimes be almost unbearable. But they continue out of love.
There is a myth that people on benefits sit at home all day watching satellite TVs, eating takeaways and drinking beer. In truth, most people on benefits are living on the breadline, often choosing between eating and heating. So before anything else (although money is not the most important thing in the world), let’s figure out how to ensure carers and their patients are getting everything they are entitled to.
- Turn 2 Us has a simple online benefits check to ensure you’re getting all your recipient and carer benefits (you’ll have to ask for up to 3 months backpay, it’s not given automatically). Grandparents Plus offers help for ‘kinship carers’.
More Help for Carers
- Cinnamon Trust offers volunteers to walk dogs and care for pets (including vet visits and hospital fostering). It also has a list of pet-friendly nursing homes and can adoption, if arranged in advance.
- Befrienders or The Silver Line has volunteers to chat on the phone (the latter has conference calls, so recipients can chat to each other).
- Fall Prevention and Stay On Your Own Two Feet are two good books by physical therapists, to eliminate home tripping hazards.
- Helping Hands at Home offers nationwide help for personal care, household chores, running errands and caring for pets.
- Earth Wise Girls sell washable bamboo incontinence pads (Natracare makes organic disposable pads).
- Uribag (free on NHS) is a portable latex canister to pee in when out, just take it home to wash.
- Vegetarian for Life offers free meal plans for care homes looking after vegan/vegetarian residents, with help for owners and caterers.