Those who care for most vulnerable need reward

I chose to spend a day of recess shadowing a carer in the Chippenham constituency as part of the Albicare team based in Bradford on Avon. The purpose was to fully understand the challenges in the industry and gain an ‘on the ground’ insight into the life of a carer and those being cared for. I have visited a number of local care agencies and decided in the end to do the shadowing in the south of the constituency.

I believe we need to raise the status of carers in society – they are care professional who play an invaluable role in our society. We must remember and reward those who care for the most vulnerable and in need. We need to support them more and shout about the work they do, to raise the status of the profession. We need to think about a range of care models and come together cross party to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society always get the quality of care that they deserve. Models that integrate local communities.

The care sector has a number of issues including pay, recruitment, retention and pressures on carers. It was eye opening to see just how time demanding and emotionally stressful the job is. Also heart-breaking to see how in need some people are – all some people have is their carer. That is why it is so important that we recognise their value and also look to all the community to help target isolation and loneliness.

I do believe the goal is to enable everyone to live independently as long as possible which is why I am an ambassador for the Independent Living Centre based in Semington. The visit however emphasised to me that care is not enough – we must do more to enable people to live at home but also reach out to them together as communities. Retirement complexes and assisted living properties can offer some of the answers but these are currently often unaffordable and some people do want to stay in their current home – so we need to seriously address the issue.

There will always be a need for the very debilitated to be in a care home. That is why we must not forget the carers working in the care homes or the challenges there. I regularly visit local homes and will now arrange a shadowing in one soon.

I have been busy during the recess you can keep up to date on michelledonelan.com and like fb.com/michelledonelanchippenham. I hold regular surgeries so if you have a problem or concern please call 01249 704465 or email michelle.donelan.mp@parliament.uk