This guest blog is by policy co-ordinator Andrew Strong from ENABLE Scotland, a national charity in Scotland for people with learning disabilities and family carers.
The least that older carers deserve after a lifetime in a caring role is the peace of mind that comes from knowing their son or daughter will be well cared for when they are no longer there.
However, thousands of parents in their seventies, eighties and even nineties across Scotland who have been the main carers for their sons, daughters, partners and relatives are facing the reality that they need to think about what will happen when they are no longer able to care. For the first time there is a generation of people who have learning disabilities who are outliving their parents.
As the leading charitable organisation in Scotland for people who have a learning disability, ENABLE Scotland is campaigning for better support, respite and short breaks for the parents and carers of people who have learning disabilities in Scotland.
To support our campaign, we have launched a project to help lifelong carers across Scotland complete emergency plans. Emergency planning can be a valuable practical example of support for older carers, making sure that all relevant information about the person they care for is recorded so that it can be accessed in the event of an emergency. This can be one important a way of offering peace of mind for the future.
Margaret Flanagan from Newton Stewart is retired and cares for her brother Pat who has a learning disability. Margaret is one of the many people signed up to and receiving support from ENABLE Scotland’s Lifelong Carer’s project.
“Now I have completed an emergency plan I feel a sense of reassurance,” she explains. “I have a long-term plan for the care of Pat if I was no longer able to care for him. I have also planned for crisis situations, say if I was in an accident. It’s good to know I have a plan for who would step in and keep a sense of normality.”
ENABLE Scotland is carrying out further research across Scotland to find out how older carers are being supported across the country. Our findings will be published later this year.
For more information about the campaign, of if you need help or advice about issues relating to learning disability, contact ENABLE Scotland on 0300 0200 101 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.