During the pandemic, we wanted to reach people in Kent who were looking after someone but weren't yet getting any support from the carer agencies. These people are known as Hidden Carers.
We launched a campaign, in partnership with Kent's carer organisations, to reach hidden carers and ensure they knew what support was available. However we found that although our campaign reached over 50,000 people in Kent, very few people actually asked for help.
We wanted to know why.....
What are the barriers that prevent people from asking for support and what can we do to remove these barriers? These were the questions we asked ourselves.
To find out, we organised a series of focus groups with women who had been looking after their Mums during lockdown. We also read and reviewed a wealth of literature about help seeking behaviour and triangulated our findings with what people told us.
This is what we learnt....
You can read all the details about what we learnt in our report below. In the meantime, the headlines are:
People have low expectations of what care is available based on previous experience of looking for help, or on the experience of friends.
Carers feel a sense of duty, resignation and endurance.
People do not identify themselves as Carers.
People don’t know where to go to find information.
The person who is cared for, and sometimes the carer, wish to stay independent and maintain control of their situation.
The single most effective way to overcome these barriers is a trusting relationship with a professional, who can reflect back to the individual that they are a carer, offer information, an invitation to talk about the experience of being a carer and signpost them to the appropriate carers support.