As an experienced nursing sister at King Edward VII for over 14 years, specialising in discharge I would encounter and support elderly frail people caring for their equally elderly partners often living with dementia, on a daily basis.
It was very challenging for them as there was minimal, if any support from the government, NHS or local authorities and they would struggle until a crisis point was reached and one or the other would eventually be admitted to hospital.
As my career progressed into adult social care, I faced the same scenarios with heartbreaking outcomes. After reading a report outlining the challenges and difficulties faced by unpaid carers it was evident that the situation had not improved and with funding constraints from local authorities, indeed it had got worse.
The Pandemic increased the number of unpaid carers as people had to give up their lives and move into their relatives homes to care for their elderly relatives. They were afraid to have carers coming into their houses, a lack of carers from the community and other such reasons all contributed. This added to isolation both for the carers and their relatives and resulted in carers feeling overwhelmed.
Those unpaid carers needed support and so I have set up an unpaid carer’s forum, in partnership with the Chiswick Nursing Centre. It is set up to address some of the challenges faced by unpaid carers and provides a space every second Monday in the month whereby they can come and enjoy a coffee, get guidance, and support and meet other people in a similar situation.
Attendance is free of charge and there is no obligation to attend regularly. It is hoped that in the future the forum will become a vibrant community of unpaid carers who can benefit from all of the resources that are offered at the Chiswick Nursing Centre.
Specialist Nurse Consultant