In Scotland there is an estimated 90, 000 people living with dementia. It is important to recognise that dementia not only affects the person living with the illness but also those around them, their friends, their colleagues, partners, family, carers, those closest to them.
It is however possible to live well with dementia, particularly with support that encourages independence and promotes positive mental health and wellbeing, this is the case not only for people living with dementia but also those around them.
Caring for some living with dementia can be rewarding, intense and at times stressful. On the 1st of April 2018 the Scottish Government launched the Carers (Scotland) Act (2016), the aim of this being to increase support for both adult and young carers to enable them to continue to care, if they wish to do so, in better health and to have a life alongside caring.
The Carers (Scotland) Act (2016) provides some new and important rights for carers living in Scotland, and as a requirement under the Act the Scottish Government has published the ‘Carers Charter’ which describes and explains these new rights.
Each local authority also has a duty to provide an advice and information service for carers to help with information about a range of things relevant to the caring role, including the new rights contained within the Carers (Scotland) Act (2016).
Who is a carer?
There can be a little uncertainty at times as to what make a person a carer, sometimes there is criteria that has to be met such as the number of hours you care for and sometimes there isn’t, this can make things confusing.
The Carers (Scotland) Act (2016) has broadened the definition of a carer and simply states that you are a 'carer' if you provide (or intend to provide) care for another person. If this is the case for you then the rights contained with the Act apply to you.
What does the Carers (Scotland) Act (2016) mean or me?
If you are a carer you have, among other rights, the right to an Adult Carer Support Plan or Young Carers Statement, this will outline what is involved in your caring role and how this affects your wellbeing and day-to-day, this will identify any needs that you may have. The responsible local authority now has a duty to provide support to carers whose identified needs (that meet local eligibility criteria) cannot be met through general local services or through support to the cared for person.
Key rights contained within the Carers (Scotland) Act (2019) include:
- Adult carers have the right to an Adult Carer Support Plan.
- Young carers have the right to a Young Carer Statement.
- Carers have the right to support to meet any ‘eligible needs’.
- Carers have the right to be involved in services.
- Carers have the right to be involved in hospital discharges of the person they care for or intend to care for.
For more information about the Carers (Scotland) Act (2019) and how these new rights affect you, contact your local authority, carers information service or click here to find your local Dementia Advisor.