A SHORTAGE of carers in Wallingford has prompted care boss Paul Johnson to start a campaign to dispel myths surrounding the profession.

Mr Johnson, who co-owns and runs the Maidenhead, Henley and Wallingford office of home care provider, Home Instead Senior Care, also hopes to raise awareness of the positives of being a carer as the company seeks to fill 80 jobs locally in 2018.

The extra jobs are to help the company keep pace with demand.

According to Skills for Care, the strategic body for workforce development in adult social care in England, there are approximately 90,000 vacancies in the social care sector at any given time.

An ageing population has created a huge requirement for care services and Mr Johnson said the national picture is reflected in Wallingford as well the other areas his branch of Home Instead, who specialise in care for older people in their own homes, covers.

He said: “Home Instead’s ‘You Can Care’ campaign is a show of solidarity with caregivers everywhere.

“Over the coming months we’ll be using the hashtag #youcancare to share information and resources, designed to support both professional carers and those providing care to loved ones.”

There has also been a problem with retention within the social care sector, with figures from Skills for Care showing on average 928 people left the profession per day in 2015/16.

A ‘mythbusting’ article has already been posted on the branch’s website to banish some of the pre-conceived ideas about what caring is all about.

Common myths tackled included that the job is routine, low-skilled, home carers only look after the very ill, all services are the same, and that most carers are middle-aged women.

On the idea the job is routine, it said: “Many people believe that caregivers only have about 15 minutes for each care visit and they mostly provide tasked based care such as help around the house, medication reminders and perhaps drive their client to the grocery store or pharmacy if they have time.

“But caregivers do so much more than that.They provide a large amount of social and emotional support which can be as impactful on their client’s wellbeing as those performing physical activities.”

Responding to the perception the job low-skilled, it added: “Carers will always have opportunities to increase their skills or specialise in certain areas, and the sector is constantly changing and growing to meet the needs of the ageing population.

“There are more than 50 qualifications at different levels in social care, so it is important to speak to your employer about learning and developing new skills.”

The company will also be sharing positive stories, offering tips, advice and support for the hundreds of people caring for family members in the local area.

For more information about Home Instead, call 01865 364418 or visit homeinstead.co.uk/maidenhead.

To keep up to date with the campaign search #youcancare on Facebook and Twitter.