Telling the true story of care
Carers come in all shapes and sizes. They are those caring for elderly parents while holding down full time jobs and bringing up children. They are sometimes the children themselves, forgoing a childhood to care for disabled parents or siblings. Unpaid carers underpin so many families and networks, often silently plugging the gaps left by public sector provision, and they really need and deserve greater recognition and support, which is why Carers’ Week, which took place last week, is such an important initiative.
But what of those who are paid to care? The care industry has entered a seemingly unprecedented era of public scrutiny following numerous incidents of neglect, abuse and misconduct. The elderly care sector in particular has borne the brunt; Carers Week itself kicked off with an article in the Sunday Times about a relatively healthy 83 year old woman who chose suicide rather than face life in a care home.
With opinion and expectation of care at an all time low, how then, does the care industry work to regain public trust and respect?
Forster’s communication work with key players in the care industry, including charities and businesses, provides insight into how a more positive future might take shape.
Back in 2012, we created a brand proposition and articulation for the now celebrated Carers Trust. Talking to stakeholders, including carers themselves to understand how they felt about issues affecting them and how they’d like to be better represented not only helped create an inspiring brand, but shone a light on real experiences – an invaluable insight.
More recently, our work with Bupa Care Homes has also revealed some endearing stories. Focus groups held with staff and residents exposed respect and affection on both sides. One activities manager we met was particularly fascinating, with experience of care in all its forms, having cared for family members, professionally for residents and been the recipient of care herself during a lengthy bout of illness.
The enthusiasm, commitment and determination we know exists within the care profession are elements the industry needs to bring to life if it is to shake off its current pejorative associations. The living, breathing stories of human relationships, acts of kindness and true compassion need to be amplified louder than those of bad eggs and carelessness.
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