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Scottish Government backs Local Charity’s Drive to Make Carers Visible

Local Aberdeen based social care charity VSA is marking Carers Week by launching a new digital carer ID card that is being supported by the Scottish Government. The card is designed to give carers the recognition they deserve as an equal partner in care alongside Health and Social Care and NHS professionals.

Carers Week, an annual campaign to raise awareness of the role that thousands of unpaid carers do every day, sees people across the UK acknowledging and celebrating the work that unpaid carers do every day in providing a caring role for ill, older, or disabled family members or friends. In Aberdeen 1 out of every 4 people could be providing a caring role, and this means that enough unpaid carers are living in Aberdeen to fill the main arena at TECA nearly four times, and across Scotland and it is estimated that up to 1.1 million people are undertaking a caring role.

Alarmingly the coronavirus outbreak and emergency measures have placed immense stress on people undertaking a caring role. Many carers are now feeling more exhausted, socially isolated, and are experiencing increased anxiety as they are struggling to undertake activities such as shopping while caring for their loved one.

Chief Executive of VSA Dr. Kenneth Simpson said, “This week marks Carers week, where we get the opportunity to shine a light on carers, thanking them for all that they do and celebrate the vital contribution and difference they make in the delivery of health and social care in society.

Caring for a loved one (s) can be both challenging and rewarding, and the theme of Carers Week this year is about making carers visible. That is why VSA is delighted to launch today our new Digital Carers ID card that provides carers with the recognition they deserve as an equal partner in care. The initiative, which is being supported with thanks to the Scottish Government Wellbeing Fund, aims to make carers easily identifiable to our partners in the NHS and Health and Social Care while helping to raise awareness of Carers across the city.

Carers have told us how difficult it has been to access dedicated shopping hours at supermarkets during the coronavirus outbreak, in some cases, it has not been possible for the carer to leave the person they care for at home, in the car or outside the shop as it would be unsafe. This has meant that carers have had to face questions that have made them embarrassed or uncomfortable as to why there is more than one person from their household entering the shop.”

Dr. Simpson continues “We have written to all the major supermarkets across Aberdeen and are asking them to show support for Carers and recognise our verified Carers ID card to enable carers to access dedicated shopping hours for vulnerable people, and to let them and the person they care for entering the shop together without having to answer questions that can cause embarrassment or upset”

VSA Carers Service provides practical, emotional, and social wellbeing support, information, and guidance to thousands of unpaid carers across Aberdeen. Scott Brebber who has been supported by the team at VSA for many years, added, “ VSA have helped me enormously over the past few years, they have given me the ability to speak to someone in a safe environment when I find myself struggling. I know they are always there to support me and signpost me to various initiatives and events that support Carers. These cards will be a huge help to myself and other Carers who cannot stand in a queue for a long period of time as we may need to be at home to support our loved one (s), attend appointments and some other Carers may be elderly or have disabilities themselves and find it difficult to stand for that amount of time. “

VSA has a full programme of virtual events happening across the week that include training, learning, and wellness activities for carers. You can access this programme of events on their social media channels and their website at any time.

Jackie Campbell said, “It is vital for people to know that we are still here from them, and our advisors are keen to speak and support to anyone who is in a caring role. Now more than ever, Carers need support, and we are asking all the hidden carers out there to reach out so that we can be there to support you. Times are challenging but we can help.”

VSA Carer service provides practical, emotional, financial and social support to find out further information about the support available and the new digital carers ID card; please call 01224 358631 or email carers.info@vsa.org.uk

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