October 29th was the first International Day of Care and Support. The United Nations made this day to recognise and celebrate the importance of care and support for all, including people with intellectual disabilities.
Throughout this blog, we show videos and stories from parents, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. Together, they talk about giving care, getting care and taking care of themselves.
Their stories show how care going both ways is important for people with disabilities to be part of their community.
What is care and support?
Care and support means helping others when they need it. It also means accepting help from others when you need it. Everyone needs care and support at different times in their lives.
Care and support connect to human rights. This includes:
- Giving and getting care equally, with respect and freedom to make choices
- Recognising unpaid care work at home and in families
- Making care jobs good quality jobs with fair pay
- Making sure care systems include and support people of all genders, ages, disabilities, and backgrounds
- Investing in care systems that are strong and include everyone
The role of families
Families play a big role in caring for family members with intellectual disabilities. Brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents and others provide invaluable care and support every day. But they don’t always get the help and support they need.
On International Day of Care and Support, we look to these family members for their care and support. We also want to make sure they get the resources and help they deserve.
Care and support go both ways
People with intellectual disabilities also provide care and support to their families. They play many important roles as sons, daughters, siblings, parents, and more. Their care and contributions should be valued and recognised.
Living independently with support
Some people think living independently means living alone. But that’s not true. With the right supports, people with intellectual disabilities can choose to live in the community while maintaining relationships with family who care for them.
The need for inclusive policies
On International Day of Care and Support, let’s work to make sure inclusive policies empower families caring for those with intellectual disabilities. Policies should recognise unpaid care work and give caregivers time for self-care too.
Care and support should be a choice. People with disabilities should have autonomy in deciding how they give and receive care. Policies should ensure care is provided with equality, respect and dignity.
In many places, like sub-Saharan Africa, families provide informal care and support because there is a lack of government assistance. These families take on big responsibilities with little outside support.
On this International Day of Care and Support, let’s make sure carers’ and supporters’ contributions are recognised and that policies provide the support they need.
With inclusive policies and recognition of unpaid care work, we can make sure people with intellectual disabilities, their families, and caregivers all have their rights respected.
There is still work to be done, but by lifting up these issues on International Day of Care and Support we take an important step forward.