Charity marks Carers Week with free activities

There are an estimated 16,000 people in Barking and Dagenham caring for a family member or friend suffering from a disability or illness.

This week charity Carers of Barking and Dagenham is holding a range of events to raise awareness of the challenges carers can face and the support available to them.

Some of the events, such as pamper sessions, are also a chance to reward carers for their dedication and hard work.

The charity’s deputy director Sue Bernie, said they have around 3,000 carers on their books, ranging from eight-years-old to people in their mid 90s.

“All kinds of people are carers, of all ages,” she explained. “Some may be parents with a disabled child, or a child with disabled parent, others could be looking after an elderly parent or partner who is ill or suffers from dementia.

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“A lot of people who care for another don’t have a lot of social interaction. Often they’re not able to leave their cared for alone and sometimes, if the person has mental illnesses friends can be somewhat frightened to come and visit.

Rosemary Taylor, who has looked after her sick mum for nine years, said social isolation is the toughest part of being a carer.

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“My 82-year-old mum has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and is housebound. We have a bit of help but I still have to spend a lot of time with her, as well as clean and cook”, the 47-year-old told the Post.

“Over the years I’ve lost touch with most of my friends and have struggled to make new ones. The couple I do have are people who also care for a family member.

“Just having a bit more contact with the outside world would be lovely. I’d also quite like to meet someone special.”

Carers of Barking and Dagenham offers a host of services from information about benefits and extra support to social activities and outings.

“The social activities are very popular,” Sue said, “Some people might not be comfortable about taking their cared for to a cafe alone, but would feel OK if there were many others there in the same position.”

An open day and summer fete will be held at the Memory Lane Resource Centre on Saturday and carers can enjoy pamper sessions at Redbridge College this week.

For more information call 020 8593 4422.

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