A carer is someone who provides unpaid care by looking after another. They might be ill, older, disabled, a family member, friend or partner. And they could spend a couple of hours a week or more supporting their needs.
Husbands, wives, mums, dads, grandparents, children, friends, anyone could be required to care for a loved one at any time. So, it comes as no surprise that 3 in 5 of us will become carers at some point in our lives.4 In cases like these, it’s very easy to not even consider yourself as a carer. Depending on the condition, the need for care could gradually change over time. Helping out with small tasks turns into helping with most daily tasks and this can become second nature. Which means sometimes people providing care don’t see themselves as carers and neither do the loved ones they care for.
Accepting yourself as a carer is easier said than done as culture can play its part. In some Asian countries, providing support to elderly relatives who need care is ingrained into society. Families grow up with several generations all under one roof, so supporting the needs of elders is a part of everyday life from a very young age. In China, it’s even part of the law!
Now, you might be wondering, ‘why is this so important? Yes, I look after the person I care about, but what difference does it make if I label myself this way?’. But this is where many could be missing out on financial and educational support or emotional and practical advice. In fact, 75% of carers feel they are unprepared for the role they play. So it can be beneficial to recognise the importance of the role you’re playing in somebody’s life.