- Malin Andersson, Ade Adepitan, and Naughty Boy have teamed up for the first time with Smart Energy GB and Carers UK to share their experiences and offer tips to help Britain’s unpaid carers manage the responsibility
- New research finds 89% of unpaid carers weren’t prepared for the responsibility of looking after someone
- Patience, staying emotionally strong, time management, and multitasking are revealed as the most valuable skills to have when caregiving
With unpaid carers dedicating 22.5 hours a week on average to looking after someone, Smart Energy GB and Carers UK have teamed up with famous faces and real-life carers to offer advice to Britain’s estimated 5.7 million carers about ways to help take the stresses and strains out of caring in a new campaign video.
New research finds that 89% of unpaid carers weren’t prepared for the amount of time and effort it would take to look after someone, and half (51%) said they needed more time to care for a loved one than they first thought.
Paralympian and TV presenter Ade Adepitan, multi-platinum-selling DJ and producer Naughty Boy and TV personality Malin Andersson have talked about their own deeply personal experiences of caring for their loved ones while offering heartfelt advice to the unpaid carers of Great Britain.
Their tips include:
- Try not to feel guilty for time not spent with the person you care for
- Spend quality time with them as well as on the daily caring tasks
- Talk to someone and open up if you’re struggling
- Get a smart meter for the person you care for, to make managing their energy bills easier.
Malin Andersson rose to fame in 2016 appearing on the hit TV show Love Island and has since dedicated time to caring for her mother who passed away in 2017 from cancer.
Malin said: “One of the most challenging things I found whilst looking after my mum was how emotionally heavy it was watching someone that you love fall apart before your eyes. I wish I’d known how little time there was left.”
After representing Great Britain in wheelchair basketball at the Paralympic Games, Ade Adepitan has built a successful career in TV, particularly in travel and sports documentaries. But the presenter has also spent time caring for his sister who has Down’s Syndrome and more recently for his mother.
Ade said: “I wish I’d known just how tiring it can be to be a carer and to know that your time’s not always your own.”
Naughty Boy is best known for his platinum-selling tracks ‘Runnin’ (Lose It All)’ featuring Beyoncé and ‘La La La’ featuring Sam Smith. But while experiencing his meteoric rise, he was also spending time looking after his mother who has dementia.
Naughty Boy said: “I found it really hard juggling life at home, being a music producer, living with mum. I had no idea how much my life would change.”
For many, caring takes the same amount of hours per week as a full-time job, so this campaign aims to help unpaid carers find ways to better manage their to-do lists as well as their own well-being.
For those who look after energy bills for someone else, one simple thing to do is request a smart meter. Three in four (73%) unpaid carers said a smart meter and in-home display had been useful in helping to manage energy bills for someone else and a quarter (25%) would advise others to get one for the person they care for.
Smart meters send automatic meter readings, meaning no more estimated bills, and no need to take manual readings for the person you care for. They come with an in-home display which shows in pounds and pence how much energy is being used, so you can make small changes to help take control of household finances.
The new survey of unpaid carers in Britain found that patience (65%), staying emotionally strong (51%), time management (34%), and multitasking (34%) are the most valuable skills to have.
For unpaid carers, there’s a lot to learn in a very short amount of time. The survey found that seven in ten (71%) expected to get the hang of their caregiving responsibilities straight away, but over half (58%) said it took up to nine months in reality.
Hearing from people who have similar experiences can be a crucial form of support. Eight in ten (80%) unpaid carers surveyed said they feel a sense of community with other people who have caring responsibilities, and 60% said the emotional toll of caring was harder than they ever expected.
But with half (50%) saying they’d never received advice from anyone who had experience actually doing it themselves, carers from different walks of life have come together to share their experiences and help others manage this important responsibility.
Phillippa Brown, a carers specialist from Smart Energy GB, said:
“Unpaid carers take on a huge amount of responsibility for others, which is why it’s important to know what support and tools are out there to help manage the load, especially during the cost-of-living crisis. Getting a smart meter installed for someone you care for could take a few things off your to-do list. They send meter readings automatically so you don’t have to, and can help to ensure they only pay for the energy they use.”
To find out more about Smart Energy GB and find out more about how to get a smart meter, visit www.smartenergygb.org.