Carers’ hard work needs proper recognition – and pay | Emma Kay

Care workers and carers have been the bread holding our society together – especially in recent times.Yet they are given nothing but scornful and degrading crumbs.

Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 5:26 pm
Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes part in the weekly 'Clap for Our Carers' event in Downing Street on May 28, 2020. Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images

They are some of the most put upon and hardworking people in the UK and sadly, some of the most invisible.

They risked their lives throughout the pandemic, never missing a day and providing an essential role to our most vulnerable. How do we reward them? By giving them barely enough to feed and clothe themselves and their families due to the very low pay and allowances they receive and by ignoring the heavy mental burden that comes with their daily tasks.

Essential but not considered, many care workers and home carers are paid below the real living wage (RLW). In fact, 60 per cent of home care worker jobs advertised in the past six months offered a pittance wage not nearly enough to live on. And how do they manage to sustain a wage that covers their living costs? By throwing away their own mental health and precious family time to work a number hours that most of us would consider inhumane. We are all too ready to sacrifice care workers to the cause and this has to stop. Something has to give.

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This life-giving work of supporting our elderly, disabled or people with chronic illness, mental health problems and learning difficulties was thanked last summer with the hollow noise of ‘clapping for carers.’

Applause is something you can partake in and feel good about but once the echo of the clapping has faded away all you are left with is silence. Clapping does not pay the bills. Clapping does not endure. Clapping does not provide.

Until you have lived it you do not know the amount of time, effort and endurance these people face on a daily basis.

They give medical care, intimate care such as bathing and dressing and continence management and keeping them alive by strict organisation of ensuring they take the right drugs at the right time. All of this is done on top of mountains of continuous paperwork, training and heath checks and more often than not they are unlikely to see any other people to relieve the mental stress.

Seeing a much fairer settlement for care workers and carers is well overdue. People who have been risking their own lives for others for wool thin wages or allowance is not okay. It is not human. Boris was quick to clap the care workers for a gleaming photo opportunity on his Downing Street doorstep when instead he should be using those hands to dip into his pockets and pull decent people out of poverty, not follow the trail of puerile publicity stunts.

Digital vs Analogue

Are analogue clocks still relevant in today’s society?

There is a certain fluency of the digital clock which makes it more preferable, more likeable and more tangible than our ancient analogue alternative. Having an analogue watch is considered rather classy or adopted by the older generation but it is exceedingly onerous to read to newer generations. It is no small wonder that so many of us now favour our phones or a digital timepiece.

I have been in many a classroom where pupils find it far easier to read the time on their phones or from a computer screen rather than examine the analogue clock on the wall. And no, this does not make them ‘lazy’ as many members of the older generation members would be quick to label them.

Whether we like it or not, a digital timepiece is easier for our brains to interpret and digest. It simply makes them just like everybody else

Freedom Blues

With lockdown ending there is no right or wrong way to feel over the locked life you are leaving behind.

In fact, you may be feeling an unparalleled sense of panic and precariousness over the thought of normality. What will we do now when the weekly trip to the supermarket was the highest point of excitement for many?

Isolation is an irregular way for humans to exist but we have done it. Years later this event will be studied and looked back on with rampant fascination. What did people do to stave off boredom and keep ourselves ticking over?

But after examining ourselves and considering what we have been through we will realise it is okay to feel as we do. It is okay to feel conflicted about lockdown ending and it is okay to not be fully okay. We have all been through this. We can come back out again.