As of 2011, the UK reportedly had a population of 63.2 million. Today, it has 6.5 million unpaid carers (nearly 10 per cent of the UK population) and “every day at least 6,000 more people start caring” (over 2 million per annum). WHAT’S GOING ON? Why is this industry growing at such an astronomical rate? I would hazard a guess that it has something to do with the UK government’s partnership with pharmaceutical companies to improve the nation’s health (also in many other countries around the world).
The Carers Week programme focuses on the non-professional carers, the ones that care for family members or friends at home. “Start caring” doesn’t mean their mental attitude has changed. It means that they become responsible for the welfare of at least one other human being who can’t take care of themselves because of some sort of disability, condition, and/or illness.
‘Prepared to Care?’ – the 2013 Carers Week campaign – will focus on, among other things, whether the wider population is prepared for future caring responsibilities because of “an ageing population and higher incidence of disability and serious illness”. The programme is designed to “encourage the public to think whether they could manage a caring role.” However, as stated in the Prepared to Care? report, caring isn’t particularly good for the carer’s health and well-being or other aspects of their life.
I was chided for making a comment a little over a year ago that there is the possibility in the not too distant future that most people will either be carers or the cared for. Here is evidence that this is indeed the direction we are headed. Of course, the caring industry is also burgeoning with a lot of paid carers to add to the statistics. Some of these carers are imported from other countries such as Romania, but if the balance tips and there are more people needing caring than those available and able to do the caring, they’ll probably have the robots they’re working on up and running by then. See some of the ones already available for the elderly with the following links:
'Robot carers' developed in Bristol laboratory (especially to remind old people to take their medication), article with short video.
Twendy One - robot carer unveiled in Japan short video.
Carers Week 2013 is being delivered by a lot of “front men” organisations for pharmaceutical companies. In other words, the national charities that are involved in this programme are all in the pharmaceutical industry’s pocket: Age UK, Carers Trust, Carers UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, MS Society and Parkinson’s UK. Arguably, their main purpose is to support medication. Sponsorship is coming from Lord Sainsbury, the GM advocate, under his business, Sainsbury’s, and Skills for Care, a big caring industry that is reliant on dependent people. One great way of making people dependent is to get them hooked on drugs.
Photo credit: Twendy-One helps out with a spot of cooking. I wonder how Twendy-One washes its hands.