Carers and empowerment in the UK: a critical reflection

Larkin, Mary and Milne, Alisoun (2014). Carers and empowerment in the UK: a critical reflection. Social Policy and Society, 13(1) pp. 25–38.



This article provides a critical reflection on carer empowerment in the UK, an issue which has received limited attention in policy and research. The arena is characterised by considerable conceptual confusion around key terminology, carer, care and caring, and by limited understanding of the meaning and outcomes of carer empowerment. Despite increased national acknowledgment of carers, a politically active carers’ movement and a number of policies intended to enhance the recognition and rights of carers, many carers remain invisible and receive little support from services, to the detriment of their own health and well-being. Addressing these challenges, alongside developing a robust theoretical foundation for taking the ‘carers’ agenda’ forward, is needed if carers are to move towards a more empowered status in the twenty-first century.

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