Support for carers and where to find it
07 Dec 2018
Becoming a carer is a rewarding role and can greatly improve the life of a loved one but it is important to take care of yourself and get the support you need so you can keep taking care of others. We have compiled this handy guide with types of support you can get as a carer and where to find aid.
Getting them as much support as possible
If your client has all the necessary support, it will be easier for you to care for them. Make sure that they have access to all the relevant funds and that they are taking advantage of any services that apply to their situation. This can leave you freer to attend to their emotional wellbeing. Technology, as discussed below, can also help you and your client to have an easier time.
Use technology to help you and them
If you can’t be there all the time but your loved one needs to take medication, consider setting alarms and reminders for them. Automated pill dispensers can also be used to make this easier. If getting to the front door is an issue, a camera can be fitted to the front door so that they will know who is at the front door and decide whether or not they want to see that person. Those small bits of independence and choice can make a big difference. If your client is likely to get confused and wander around the house in the night or try to leave the house, you can install sensors to alert you to any movements that could lead to danger.
No one can work all day, every day without feeling its effects. Make sure that you have organised some “me time”, every day so that you can relax, especially if you are a live-in carer. It is also possible to organise a respite stay for your client so that you can take some time away and recharge your batteries, safe in the knowledge that they are being taken care of in your absence.
If you act as a carer for over 20 hours a week, you could be entitled to carers credit, which is used to fill gaps in your National Insurance record to help with your State Pension. There is also a carer’s allowance that you could be eligible for, if you care for someone for over 35 hours per week. You may even be able to get a carer’s budget to help you take care of your loved one. To find out more about this, you will need to take a carer’s assessment.
Talk to other carers
It can be lonely as a carer so where possible, get in touch with other carers. Some charities have forums for carers to discuss problems and these can be very useful. You may even find that other carers have found solutions to any problems or issues you are having and can help give you that advice and perspective that can be hard to find.
Talking to other carers is helpful but if you need more help or a professional to talk to, consider getting counselling. Being a carer is a stressful job and it can be hard to switch off. If you are struggling with any aspect of the job or are feeling overwhelmed, make sure you speak to someone before it becomes a larger problem.
Keep a diary
Keep a diary to check how much sleep and rest you’re getting. It can be easy to over-work yourself in favour of taking care of a loved one but you need to make sure that you are looking after yourself or you will quickly burn out. You should also note down the type and duration of your breaks. If they are insufficient, you may be able to get extra help to take care of your loved one during breaks.
Useful resources for advice and support
The following sites will be able to offer more details on the financial aid or emotional support that you can get as a carer: