In light of the recent publication of her book Working with Family Carers, Dr Valerie Gant, University of Chester, reflects how the summer holiday can be a period of stress rather than relaxation for carers.
As the holiday period reaches its end and we continue to bathe in the sunshine, I think again about issues faced by many carers.
While the six-week school break is seen as a welcome relief for teachers and staff, it is similarly often a cause of anxiety and stress for pupils with severe learning difficulties and their parents/carers.
Changes in routine (and weather) can be incredibly difficult to navigate. It is of course not just school-age children and their family carers who struggle with those intensifying summertime pressures…
Light nights and intense heat can make caring more difficult for older adults and also for those caring for people with dementia.
For those carers able to afford a holiday – note the word ‘holiday’ not ‘break’ – a change of scene is not necessarily as good as a rest.
Researching for my book Working with Family Carers, I was privileged to speak to many family carers as well as people in receipt of family care. It soon became apparent that it is the ordinary, taken-for-granted activities, holidays and summer days that are the most challenging to navigate.
Helena Herklots, the outgoing CEO at Carers UK, recently suggested there is evidence of the carers movement growing in momentum, I would like to think this is the case and that support for carers will be a year round activity, not just one marked by ‘Carers Week; or ‘Carers Right’s Day’.
As a parent-carer myself, I believe such recognition, acknowledgement and hopefully support, when needed, needs to be an ongoing activity and not just a seasonal event.
Roll on September!