Carers provide an essential service and make a huge difference to the lives of thousands of people across the UK. It is estimated that there are around 855,000 carers in the UK, and each week they devote more than 50 hours of care to people in need.
Caring for people with autism
Many carers are friends and relatives of people affected by autism, and caring for someone is often a full-time job which is emotionally and physically demanding. Caring for someone with autism can be very difficult because they struggle with communication and interaction and often find it difficult to express emotion and affection. They may be very grateful for the care you provide but they will have difficulty showing this and you may not feel that you are making a difference because they struggle to show that they are happy and grateful for your love and support. Caring for an autistic person can also be frustrating, as they tend to stick to rigorous routines and get upset when routines are broken. Many also prefer to be alone and focus on activities which revolve around facts and numbers, which other people may find boring.
Rights for carers
The government has introduced measures to ensure that carers have rights – these include The Disabled Persons Act 1986, the Carers Act 1995 and the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000. These acts are designed to offer carers financial and practical support in order to enable them to carry out their work and allow them to complete an assessment, which will certify that they are fit to care for somebody.
Support for carers
Carers carry out one of the more important jobs, providing emotional and practical support for people in need of help and attention. Most people recognise the amazing work done by carers. However, it is difficult to understand how demanding and draining the job is until you have been in the situation yourself. Many carers are happy to devote their time and love to others but sometimes they need a break and some time to themselves. This is why charities, such as Carers UK, have set up programmes which are designed to give carers a break and a treat, whilst ensuring their loved one is looked after.
Many carers also find it helpful to meet up with other carers. This allows them to talk to people in a similar situation, share concerns, offer advice and spend time with people who understand what they are going through.