Is Care Valued? – Keeping it Personal

‘Does care get the value it deserves?’, was a participatory debate at the ALLIANCE’s Citizen Wellbeing Assembly on 25th June facilitated by Lisa Curtice, Programme Director of People Powered Health and Wellbeing (PPHW).

Lisa welcomed speakers Jim Elder-Woodward OBE, Chair of Independent Living in Scotland, who spoke about what care is for, and Judith Midgley, from the Coalition of Care and Support providers Scotland (CCPS), who spoke about paid care and the care workforce.

The above video, “Is Care Valued?”, was produced by facilit-e 46 on behalf of PPHW and in partnership with participants in the Keeping It Personal project (delivered by IRISS, as part of the PPHW programme).

In this video we meet four family carers and volunteers who were involved in Keeping It Personal. As a result of working alongside others to co-produce improvements to services for people with dementia, they decided to set up two dementia cafés and a carers group.

While the video brought the lived experience of unpaid carers into the room, the guest speakers delivered presentations that helped inform the debate.

Some key points from the discussions:

Unpaid carers:

  • Require many skills to keep their own life organised as well as that of the person they are caring for
  • Vital for carers to keep their sense of identity
  • Essential that quality of life and human rights are supported and respected
  • Many carers don’t self-identify as such
  • There seems to be a difference in public opinion towards carers who are caring a person with physical disability compared to those with mental ill health – it seems to be more socially acceptable when the cared for person is physically disabled
  • Need to come away from the market-based model of assessing the value of care in society
  • Unpaid carers are the largest workforce in the UK [1 in 10 people are unpaid carers].

Independent living:

  • Patricia Osborne, CEO of Brittle Bone Society, said disabled young people are often cocooned and sheltered, however services to help them live independently don’t seem to be available when they are older
  • If we don’t value the role of carers in society will we end up with robots coming into our homes to care for us? (Like in the TV show Humans)
  • Regarding the profit making nature of the home care market: Some people felt we need to take back the reins from the market, but how do we do that and is that even possible in a free market economy?
  • It was agreed that we need to have a national debate, getting the public involved in discussions about how we fund social care, why we fund it and what it should provide.
  • It was also agreed that we need to do more to improve the image of care and social care support as a career choice that younger people would aspire to. Likewise, we should value those who give up their own career to care for a loved one – this could potentially involve a national campaign recruiting ‘Care Champions.’

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