Linda Fabiani MSP has urged South Lanarkshire Council and other local authorities in Scotland to sign up to the Older Families Charter for Change, which sets out five simple steps to make life easier for older people who care for their adult children with learning disabilities.
Linda has had a long association with East Kilbride’s Murray Owen Carers Group – whose members were a driving force behind the Charter – and has regularly highlighted the concerns of older carers.
Speaking during a Holyrood debate about the Scottish Government’s recently-launched national Carers and Young Carers Strategy, Linda paid tribute to the “lifetime of devotion, commitment and hard work” of older carers who have, in some cases, cared for their loved ones for close to 60 years.
Linda praised the efforts of South Lanarkshire Council staff who have worked to meet the needs of older carers, but urged ongoing vigilance to ensure that the support provided to older carers continues to meet the principles set out in the Charter. She said:
“Thanks to the work of the Murray Owen centre and groups such as that across South Lanarkshire, and of course the commitment of many officers in South Lanarkshire Council, it is already meeting the Charter in theory, but it is continuously striving to improve its practice.
“I mention the difference between theory and practice deliberately. Often, the theories are good and we can tick the boxes and say, “Yes, we are doing fine,” but it is the practice that matters. It is the quality underneath the theory that is important, so it should be continually monitored and assessed, and people should be listened to. The [Scottish Government’s Carers] Strategy states that carers should be “equal partners in the planning … of … support.”
“That is essential, as is carers being supported “in a personalised way”.
“It seems to me that the Charter for Change is little to ask. I hope that all local authorities will sign up to it and that our Government will endorse it as part of its own carers charter.”
Further information about the Charter for Change for older carers can be found at http://www.charterforchange.com/