As the holiday season approaches, UK carers are facing significant financial challenges, with an estimated £1.3 billion in potential savings going untapped, according to data released by Discounts for Carers in partnership with Pluxee UK.
The national Discounts for Carers platform, currently underused, offers discounts across various household expenditures for both unpaid and professional carers. While current users save an average of £188.50 per month, there are approximately 7 million more eligible carers who could benefit from the platform, potentially saving nearly £160 million on groceries and £154 million on family activities during December alone.
The financial strain on carers is exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis, as highlighted in the Carers UK State of Caring 2022 Report. A quarter of carers (25%) are cutting back on essentials like food or heating, and 63% are extremely worried about managing their monthly costs. To address this ongoing financial hardship, Discounts for Carers is offering its ODE cashback card, in partnership with Pluxee, providing additional savings for carers across a wide range of retailers. Since 2021, ODE card members have saved £6.8 million in cashback.
Storm Postlethwaite, Managing Director of Discounts for Carers, urged carers to take advantage of the savings, stating,
Carers in the UK are more important than ever, and many are continuing to struggle during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. December can be exceptionally hard on their finances, so we’re encouraging carers to sign up and take advantage of the savings they’re entitled to.
Storm Postlethwaite, Managing Director of Discounts for Carers
Carers in the UK can access discounts and cashback to help manage costs through Discounts for Carers by visiting https://discountsforcarers.com/.
In light of the struggles many carers face, Emma Willars, Coaching & Development Consultant at Bright Horizons, provides valuable tips on navigating the festive season:
Navigating the Festive Season: Tips for Carers by Emma Willars
In your role as a carer, prioritise the health and wellbeing of your loved ones. Plan activities and meals that align with their health requirements, considering comfort levels, restrictions, medications, and specific health needs.
Maintain open communication during the holidays, discussing plans and managing expectations with family, friends, and loved ones. Clearly communicate any limitations or adjustments needed due to your schedule and caring responsibilities.
Delegate and Share Responsibilities:
If family is nearby, don’t hesitate to delegate tasks and share responsibilities. Distributing tasks, whether related to events, decorations, or care-related duties, can help lighten the load.
Adapt Festive Activities:
Consider adapting traditional activities to accommodate the needs of your loved ones. Opt for smaller gatherings, choose quieter venues, and ensure the environment is comfortable and accessible for those with mobility challenges.
Create a Flexible Schedule:
Flexibility is crucial when caring during the holidays. Be open to adjusting plans based on energy levels and preferences, allowing for breaks and downtime between activities.
Celebrate Meaningful Traditions:
Maintain the meaningful value behind activities even if adapting them. Incorporate cherished family recipes, holiday rituals, or favorite decorations to bring continuity and joy to the season.
Utilise Support Services:
Explore support services available in your community, such as respite care, meal delivery, or transportation services. Taking advantage of these resources can provide much-needed support during busy times.
Plan for Self-Care:
Schedule time for self-care amidst the holiday hustle. Engage in activities you enjoy, ensure adequate rest, and remember that self-care is essential for providing quality care to your loved ones.
Capture and Share Memories:
Take the opportunity to create and capture precious memories. Involve your loved ones in activities that bring joy and share these moments through photos or videos, fostering a sense of togetherness.
Seek Emotional Support:
The holidays can bring added stress; seek emotional support from friends, family, or support groups to navigate the emotional aspects of caring during the festive season.
Emma Willars emphasises that by prioritising wellbeing, communicating effectively, and adapting activities to suit everyone’s needs, carers can create a holiday season that is both meaningful and manageable.
Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.