Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research

Making sense of the social world


Why older carers need recognition and support

12 June 2017

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This week is Carers Week 2017 with a focus on building Carer Friendly Communities, which support carers to look after their loved ones well, while recognising that they are individuals with needs of their own.

Dr Alisoun Milne, Professor of Social Gerontology and Social Work at the University of Kent's School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, researches family carers, social work with older people and their carers, mental health in later life and long term care. She is currently working on an NHS England funded project exploring effective support for older carers and is working with a local third sector carers agency helping to evaluate their role in support for carers.

Alisoun champions the rights of older carers to be recognised and supported. She highlights that this is an issue of social justice in her Think Kent video. The Think Kent series are short videos which give an overview of Kent academics and their research and teaching expertise.

In her video, Alisoun highlights the fact that over a third of the UK's 6.5 million carers are aged 65 years and over and that older carers disproportionately provide intensive levels of care and tend to care for longer hours over many years. Unwillingness to identify as 'a carer' and ask for help from services also means older carers often care unaided. Despite increased policy emphasis on supporting family carers, few older carers come to the attention of local authorities. Even fewer see a social worker whose skill and knowledge set is often invaluable to older carers. View the video 'Caring in Later Life: A Matter of Social Justice' online.

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