Carers: the everyday heroes of an ageing society
“It’s no secret that the UK population is ageing” (1). The increase of elderly people in the UK as well as in Europe is now established and proven fact. The Office for National Statistics (ONS), in the UK, predicts that more than 24% of people living in the UK will be aged 65 or older by 2042, up from 18% in 2016 (2). This demographic trend has serious consequences on the UK economy and policies. Public spending is and will keep on increasing in the future to sustain the increase in especially health care costs (3).
An ageing society: the importance of carers
The public health care system in the UK has, over the past few years, struggled to face this demographic trend. The increase in the elderly population, coupled with the cut in public expenses because of the 2008 financial crisis, has caused the ‘overburn’ of British hospitals. As the policy director of a health think tank, Richard Murray says: “If the ER is really busy, it makes the ambulances queue outside the front door — not great. And in some cases, the hospital is simply full.” (4)
Against this background, the profession of carer has become increasingly important. This is why the Southwark Care Awards wants to “celebrate the impact that everyday heroes have and ensure that care workers in Southwark feel valued and appreciated”. Nominations are now open; thanks to the support of the United St. Saviours Charity and London South Bank University nominees will have the chance to attend a prestigious and elegant ceremony on Wednesday 29th April 2020.
Restorative Justice, FRED and young carers
The Fairness, Respect, Equality & Dignity (FRED) youth-led campaign wants to help young people to realize their potential while contributing to and benefiting from their community. The values of this campaign are, therefore, aptly appropriate for considering the role of youth as carers.
The cooperation of young and old people – stemming from young carers volunteering to look out for older people – increases social cohesion and brings many benefits to both parties. A study from the BBC claims that inter-generational gathering provides young people, “models that motivate and encourage you to fulfil your potential.”(5) On the other hand, the contact with youths helps older people to “tackle isolation and loneliness.” (6)
(1) Office of National Statistics, 2019, How would you support our ageing population, p.1
(2) Ibid, p.1
(3) European Commission, 2018, 2018 Agening Report: Policy challenges for agening societies, p. 1
(4) Lauren Frayer, 2018, UK Hospitals Are Overburned, But The British Love Their Universal Care System, p.1, retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2018/03/07/591128836/u-k-hospitals-are-overburdened-but-the-british-love-their-universal-health-care?t=1581261731297
(5) BBC, Intergenerational Voluteering, p.1 Retrieved from https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3vPtzxD0PthCS4yYSb9sDxg/intergenerational-volunteering
(6) Ibid, p.1