Who are carers? One of the challenges we face as a charity is being clear to our followers and supporters just what a carer is. In recent times, on the back of an ageing population we hear the word carer more frequently than ever before. The media talks about ‘carers’, often in reference to those working in a paid care role. It would be helpful for us if these ‘paid’ carers were referred to as ‘care workers’. We define ‘care workers’ as employed staff who work in care homes or visit the vulnerable in their own homes and provide living assistance. Within our organisation we know carers as anyone who cares for someone in an unpaid capacity. The NHS website defines a carer as:- Anyone, including children and adults, who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction and cannot cope without their support. The care they give is unpaid Any one of us could find ourselves in this position at any time. Ask yourself if your child, parent , friend or spouse suddenly became ill with a condition that required additional support. Would you help them? If so, you would become an unpaid carer. Often, the carers we help find themselves in their current position gradually. Loved ones may have needed minor assistance initially but as their needs have grown it has become an increasing pressure on their lives. It is reported that it can take carers an average two years to admit they have fallen into this role. (NHS Website) We support unpaid carers of all ages - from young children, through to teenagers, adults and the elderly. Often, these individuals are caring for their loved ones whilst trying to maintain an education or full time job. With unpaid carers making up 10% of our population it is of more importance than ever that organisations exist that offer advice and help to those most in need. Care-giving can leave individuals feeling mentally and physically exhausted, isolated and unable to partake in activities that many of us take for granted. At Northamptonshire Carers we will continue to educate people about the challenges that are faced by unpaid carers. At the last census there were 70,000 carers within our County and everything we do as an organisation is aimed at assisting these individuals. We always need support in the form of volunteers and fundraisers. We run many events throughout the year that you could get involved with and help us further - please contact us today to see how you can help.