I think by now you're probably familiar with what a carer is. If not, do feel free to read the thing I wrote for carers' day in 2014. Searching the rest of this site for 'carer' stuff will probably bring you a plentiful supply of information and some -hopefully- moving and thought provoking accounts. I say 'hopefully' because there's always the possibility that you are incapable of empathy and I wouldn't want to exclude you. Anyway I don't want to try and fill a gap that isn't there anymore. What I'd like to do is tell you about a thing you might not be aware of. Strap yourself in.
Have you heard of the National Accident Helpline? If you've had a trip or fall at work, or anywhere, frankly, then blah blah blah lawsuit blah. I'm sure they're very helpful, but they've also done some research on the welfare of unpaid carers. Well I won't bore you with statistics (Is it possible not to bore with statistics? A firework display maybe.) although you can follow the link to their data if you wish and even download the whole thing.
Have I really written a whole blog just to tell about some dry old research? Can't I see how busy you are? Well actually, no I can't, but also, no I haven't. The apex (or something) of this research has been to create a British Caregiver Award. Follow that link and you can nominate a carer for the chance you win a holiday for themselves and the person they care for. It's hard to overstate the value of respite for a carer (although I've had a go). But despite this some carers don't get regular breaks. Over a third never get an evening off and nearly half have never have a holiday. It's not hard from those two facts to presume there's a fair few people who are pretty much on duty 24/7.
It's easy to conclude, in this understandably cynical age, that this is just a marketing tool on behalf of the National Accident Helpline, whom I promise I have only named just there in order to explain what you are already thinking. I'm not in a position to rebutt your uncharitable thoughts unequivocally. Indeed, there are companies who's financial association might move me to feel that any involvement with this award was selling my soul to polish the unholy turd that is their reputation. Happily, the National Accident Helpline (that's the three mentions I am contractually obliged to make) aren't on that list. On top of that, if you can find a source of money for this research and the attendant prize that doesn't require any sort of public acknowledgement you may find that I actually distrust that more.
'Can you even pick a best carer' I hear you cry in that annoyingly whiney voice of yours. Well I don't know. But write the name of every nominee and invite the oldest inhabitant of a donkey sanctuary to pick, I bet you'll find they deserve it.