Carers Rights Day 

Today is #carersRightsDay. In a recent survey of nearly 6,000 carers, Carers Uk found:

  •  Four in five unpaid carers are providing more care for relatives 
  • 78% reported that the needs of the person they care for have increased during the pandemic 
  • Two thirds (67%) worried about how they will cope through further lockdowns or local restrictions. 

It is more important than ever that carers are aware of their rights and the support they can access. 

We’ve worked with Vocal for few years now and have seen first-hand the amazing work they do in support carers and have recently been successful with a Shared Care Scotland Creative Breaks Fund to continue this work in the new year.

Carers need to take a break from time to time and we’ve been reflecting on the role can art play in providing support. Here is some of our learning 

“The lockdown has been hard for everyone, but as a carer, the isolation has been devastating.. Having someone to talk to for a couple of hours..and being able to do something creative at the same time has been a bigger stress relief than I can possibly put into words.” 

Life outside the caring role 

Carers have often told us that our art sessions are such an important time for them and have helped them to regain a sense of themselves again and their own identity. Often attending the workshops has motivated and boosted carers to look at other avenues for art and other hobbies.  

‘I found this new way of looking at art extremely joyful and interesting and wanted to try this in a different setting. It gave me the motivation and boost to ask a friend to come with me to a local art gallery where I tried out my new techniques, and I even taught my friend!’ 

Feel better supported to sustain caring role 

When we form new groups with carers, a really great dynamic is formed very quickly, brought together by shared experience and so much support and advice happens between participants. 

“During the height of the pandemic my husband and I were together 24/7 as all his respite services has stopped. I really felt at breaking point as I was getting no time for myself, it was having an impact on our relationship. [taking part in the art sessions meant] I was able to immerse myself in something which was not caring, it really was a lifeline during a very stressful time. After the sessions I was able to go back to my husband and tell him and show him my art projects. This really helped with our relationship and enabled me a bit of a boost to carry on in my caring role.”

Improved wellbeing 

Carers appeared more relaxed and happy at the end of each session and often feedback that they feel energised to go back, refreshed into the caring role. 

“Doing room for art at VOCAL has helped me remember who I am in and that I need to take time for myself because if I don’t I will just burn out. This little time I have had to take the time out from caring and meet some wonderful people has been such a lifeline. Even my daughters noticed how relaxed I was after the sessions and this I think was comforting to them.” 

Developing new skills 

We cover a range of different art techniques in our sessions and have seen how these activities have been passed on and benefitted those that are cared for. During our last block of workshops, we sent a copy of our Encounters book (a Dementia friendly resource) and delivered a whole session around how you might use it in the caring role. We see a growing confidence for participants producing art and developing creative thinking skills. 

If you are a Carer and would like to find out more about your rights, visit Vocal’s website:…/practical…/carers-rights/

25 November 2021 by

Art in Healthcare