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The Care Crisis: Shortage of Carers!

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

I happened to catch a news story the other day about the shortage of carers. Ironically whilst I was cooking lunch for an elderly couple I care for. The lady in the story was appalled by not being able to find carers for her dying mum. Ultimately making a really hard time for her, even harder. Having cared for many people in that situation, my heart went out to her.

The news story also featured an employed carer who was leaving his job because it didn't pay enough for him to be able to live. Not an extravagant life. Simply, didn't pay enough to even pay his bills. He was a senior carer in charge of people and medication, yet he still wasn't paid enough to be able to live well. Even though he loved his job, he eventually had to make the decision to leave for better paid work.

It went on to talk about the national shortage of carers across the UK. (Here's the link to the story if you want to read further )

There is a shortage of carers due to issues retaining and recruiting staff, at the same time as a raise in demand for carers as the population's needs change as people are living longer.

The article warns the shortage of care workers will increasingly affect people who need support, and their families.

As the population's needs change the demand for care will increase

As a self employed carer myself, we see how the shortage of carers effects people every day. Especially as the nights draw in, the weather gets colder, the demand for care always increases. We average around 3 referrals a week this time of year, for potential care clients which we have to turn away as we are full. We often ask other local carers who we have made connections with if they have any capacity for further work, sometimes we are lucky and they might have the odd gap, so we are at least able to find a solution to help the person needing care. But more often or not we refer them to a traditional care company.

It was the demand for care, in particular our model of care, that lead me to create the Professional Carers Network. A membership where we champion self employed carers. We aim to help people start their own business as a self employed carer and support them throughout their career.

As the population's needs are changing, more and more people need support to remain in their own home. But a lot of people who need support can be resistant to the idea of receiving care. They don't want a uniformed care agency going in, not knowing who is going to turn up, or when. Often having a stranger in their house helping them with their personal tasks. Hence why our model of care is so popular. People can accept having one or two self employed carers coming into their home to give them a hand. It's not lots of names to remember and faces to recognise. It's a case of building a relationship with one person who will be able to give you a hand with whatever you are struggling with.

Recruiting and retaining staff is a major issue within the care sector

But the raising demand for care is not the only reason, and certainly not the main reason, why there is a shortage of carers. The struggle to recruit and retain staff is a major factor as to why the care industry is in crisis. To put it bluntly, people feel it's not a good enough job. Carers work long hours for low money and often end up feeling undervalued and overworked.

I have worked in various roles within the care sector ranging from carer to advocacy to management. The higher up the ladder you go, the more money you make, but the less time you spend with people and it becomes more about paperwork. Or you can stay at the working with people level, but never manage to earn a decent income, even after working many many hours. You get phone calls constantly asking you whether you can come into work as they are short staffed. Ultimately, the care sector looses A LOT of really good carers, quite simply because they don't feel cared for themselves.

But there is a better way......

However as a self employed carer I have complete control of my own business. I choose when I work, how much I charge, who I work with, where I work and what activities I undertake.

As a self employed carer I earn good money. I work hours that fits around my lifestyle. I can attend school plays and sports days without asking permission. I enjoy going to work every day. I have made fabulous relationships with people I would have never have known.

As a self employed carer I can see every day the impact the care I deliver has on the person receiving care and their family. I see people who look forward to their care visits, ready to update me from where our last conversation left off. I see people that can attend activities in the community with support so they no longer feel isolated. I see family members being able to take a step back and enjoy their role as daughter or son again, rather than an enforced carer.

I finish every day knowing I have done a really really good job today.

The aim of the Professional Carers Network is simple, we want to build a network of self employed carers all across the UK. We want more people who need care to be able to have the choice of using a self employed carer. And we want to show potential and current carers how care can be a VERY rewarding career. Being a self employed carer is by far THE BEST move I have ever made.

The demand for care and the shortage of carers, can only be solved in one way. You need to make caring a more lucrative career option. You need to tempt people to enter the care sector and you need to retain them.

I believe the way to do this is to have more self employed carers.

Written by

Maria Tomlinson

Self Employed Carer

Founder of Professional Carers Network

For more information about becoming a self employed carer visit

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