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Caithness News Bulletins December 2003

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CARERS RIGHTS DAY – 5th DECEMBER 2003 1 December 03
Thousands of people may be missing out on the support they are entitled to whilst looking after a sick or disabled relative at home.  As part of the “Joint Futures for Carers” Project, Highland Carers Project, are joining forces with NHS Highland and Highland Council Social Work Services to promote Carers Rights Day on Friday 5th December, a national awareness day organised by Carers Scotland in partnership with Scottish Gas. 

Marion MacNeil, Information Worker for Highland Carers Project said, “Anyone who looks after a sick or disabled person on an unpaid basis is a carer and may be able to get help.  We are urging all carers to seek advice on the help they are entitled to, by contacting the Carers Project Helpline on 08457 660026.  They might be entitled to claim Carers Allowance or a discount on their Council Tax or they could have a Carers Support Plan drawn up.  They can also find out more by attending a Crossroads Information Display in the Eastgate Centre, organised by Crossroads Care Inverness on Friday 5th December.”

Last year Carers Rights Day led to a massive increase in claims for the main carers’ benefit, Carers Allowance.  20,000 additional carers in the UK successfully claimed the benefit after last year and carers’ organisations throughout Scotland will be working towards improving on last year’s take-up.

Carers can also find out about The Highland Carers Support Plan, an assessment of carers’ needs, which identifies support the person they care for could receive, in order to relieve the pressure on their carer.   Over 22% of carers care for more than 50 hours per week and some are not aware that they are entitled to ask for help with this difficult task.  Social Work Services will carry out this assessment and can arrange support for carers to help them to fulfil their caring role.

“You may think that you are doing what any mum, son, wife, or brother would do in the same circumstances.  But there is help out there for people who give up their lives to care for their loved ones and we want to ensure that everyone finds out how they can get a helping hand.” pledged Marion.