Carers of East Lothian (CoEL) continues to work with key partners, including East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership (ELHSCP), to address some of the challenges unpaid carers are facing when trying to access everyday necessities during the lockdown.
This is a stressful time for carers, unpaid and otherwise. Carers have told us about a range of difficulties, from sourcing PPE to the fear of being prevented from buying multiple items of a product when shopping for more than one household at a time.
We have written to all carers on our contact database to provide them with a letter signed by Alison Macdonald, Director of ELHSCP, which they can use to identify themselves as an unpaid carer if they are questioned (see copy attached).
The positive outcomes of this joint working are already evident. Some carers have told us that receiving the letter has made them feel valued and heard. Others have reported that it has given them peace of mind when they are leaving the house to provide essential care for loved ones.
One parent carer, whose child has complex support needs, shared how the letter had resolved a potentially awkward situation in the supermarket. Her daughter, who has a sensory processing difficulties, will only eat one type of yogurt. Staff at Tesco challenged her when they saw she had several packets of the same brand of yogurt in her trolley. However, they were very understanding when she produced the unpaid carer ID letter and explained her daughter’s difficulties, even asking if there was any additional help they could offer her with shopping. It is heartening to see people, services and organisations pulling together to support unpaid carers and the people they care for at this difficult time.
CoEL is continuing to take new referrals. We urge all practitioners to ask about the needs of unpaid carers when carrying out assessments and delivering support. Anyone can make a referral via our online referral form https://www.coel.org.uk/contact-us/online-referral-form/ or by calling 0131 665 0135. We are providing information, practical advice and emotional support to carers over the telephone, assisting with welfare rights issues and benefit applications, and connecting carers to local and national resilience resources.