There are more than six million carers in the UK, doing an amazing job caring for someone who may be older, disabled or seriously ill.
Whether your caring role comes as a surprise, or the needs of the person you care for have changed, carers often have to pick up the household’s financial management at little notice. This is hard enough, but without a paper trail, it is nigh on impossible.
Until recently someone taking on a caring role could run somebody else’s finances straightforwardly, with the appropriate authorisations. Even if you were caring for someone whose filing system wasn’t up to scratch, you could gauge the state of accounts from the paperwork that companies were sending out.
But the last decade has seen a change in how service providers communicate. Banks have advocated switching people to online accounts, sometimes automatically. Energy companies lure people in with the promise of lower bills if they don’t have to send out a paper copy.
When you’re caring for someone, the last thing you need is additional complications, or worse, the thought of having services cut off if you don’t pay the bill you can’t access. Nobody wants to be quizzing a frail or sick dependent about passwords and service providers.
The Keep Me Posted campaign, which is supported by Carers UK, wants everyone to have the choice to receive bills and statements on paper. As Carers Week marked the excellent, unseen and unsung work that carers provide, surely giving people that choice is something that makes sense.
Judith Donovan CBE,
Keep Me Posted