CARE IN THE COMMUNITY
JUNE 6-12 is Carers Week, an annual awareness campaign to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the 6.5 million people in the UK who care, unpaid, for a disabled, older or ill family member or friend. A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, mental health problem or who needs extra help as they grow older. For some, taking on a caring role can be sudden: someone in your family has an accident or your child is born with a disability. For others, caring creeps up unnoticed: your parents can’t manage on their own any longer or your partner’s health gradually worsens. The amount and type of support that carers provide varies considerably. It can range from a few hours a week, such as picking up prescriptions and preparing meals, to providing care day and night. Caring will touch each and every one of us in our lifetime, whether we become a carer or need care ourselves. Whilst caring can be a rewarding experience, it can also have a damaging impact on a person’s health, finances and relationships. Asking for help is the first step and it’s easy to do with a wide selection of products and services available locally. Seniors often need assistance with day- to- day chores, medications, home maintenance or routines. Dementia is especially troubling to deal with. Even when adult children are nearby to provide assistance, busy lives make it nearly impossible to keep up. Trained professional services and home carers are available to do this, allowing the elderly to stay in their own homes and adult children to get the professional assistance they need in caring for their loved ones. Physically or mentally disabled children and adults can also benefit from professional home care. Experienced carers cannot only assist at home; they can take clients on outings and help them pursue their interests, whether it’s bird watching or music sessions. Successful relationships are hard work. But sometimes even hard work isn’t enough, when there are changes within the family, addiction issues, death or financial crisis. Counselling allows family members or couples to talk about their feelings and problems with a trained, neutral professional in a confidential environment. The statistics on domestic violence are sobering. A domestic violence incident is recorded every 10 minutes in Scotland. At least one in five women in Scotland will experience domestic abuse and one in three teenage girls suffers an unwanted sexual act. Local organisations are there to listen and provide solutions, whether a victim needs to get safely out of a situation immediately or counselling for emotional trauma. There doesn’t have to be an emergency situation for a person to reach out. Clinical depression is a medical condition, not just feeling blue, and can be treated as such. Or sometimes life gets overwhelming and people just need someone to talk with. Whatever the case, suffering in silence is not the answer. One phone call can be the first step to a happy, healthy life. Carer’s Week is being celebrated with a coffee morning and information session on ‘ Reablement’ at the North Argyll Carers Centre on Albany Street on Tuesday June 7 from 11am. Also on June 7, Carers Mid Argyll and the Isles will hold a day out at Portavadie Marina. Booking is required with the Dochas Centre. To find out more about Carers Week events Argyll, visit www. carersweek.org.