A new video released ahead of Young Carers Awareness Day (January 31) explores the issues faced by the UK’s 400,000 young adult carers.
The video, which was made by liquid medicine manufacturer Rosemont Pharmaceuticals, looks at how caring impacts on the lives of two young adults.
One interviewee says she has been a carer for most of her life, but didn’t realise she was one until the age of around 10.
Another has an older brother with Down’s syndrome, and says she carries a lot of responsibility for making sure he takes his medicines safely.
Penny Woodgate of Community Pharmacy Surrey and Sussex says that being a young carer solely responsible for a loved one’s medicine intake – which can involve collecting and giving medicines, as well as helping with any problems – is “really challenging” and a “huge responsibility” especially when combined with work or schooling.
The support pharmacists offer in counselling carers on medicines and providing other services “can be a real help,” Ms Woodgate says.
When asked what advice she would give to pharmacists, one of the young carers recommends not being afraid to ask questions – though as many young people don’t identify with the term ‘carer’, she advises asking whether someone is picking up a medicine “for somebody that you help out at home”.