Caring for someone can be really rewarding but it can put a lot of demand on you both emotionally and physically. Research has found that caring for others can have a major impact on a person’s health and wellbeing. Here are a few key tips on staying well in your caring role:
Register as a carer with your GP
As soon as you begin caring, it’s important that you tell your GP that you are a carer. This can be recorded on your medical records. If you haven’t seen your GP for a while, arrange a health check. Carers Bucks is now offering Carers’ Clinics at GP surgeries in the south of the County – call us on 0300 777 2722 for details.
Seek advice and support to help you in your caring role
Carers Bucks runs regular support groups throughout Buckinghamshire.
Eat healthily and get regular exercise
A balanced diet will keep your body strong and give you enough energy to provide the best care for the person you are caring for and yourself. Also make sure you get regular exercise and look after your back – read Carers UK – Back Pain Guide.
When you can, take a break. There are different ways in which you can take a break as a carer. See below for details.
Carers can contact Carers Bucks for individual support either over the phone or by visiting our offices.
Carer Support Workers are always available for you to talk to, both in a crisis and if you want to talk about your situation more generally. The support available is free, confidential and non-judgemental.
Support is also available through our support groups which we run throughout Buckinghamshire. Support groups give you the chance to meet carers in similar situations and to share common experiences, frustrations and information.
Taking a Break
Breaks or time off from caring are important. Whether it’s an hour every day, a couple of hours a week or a two-week holiday, we all need some time to ourselves, and carers are no exception. Taking a break can recharge the batteries and give you the energy to carry on caring. Without an occasional break you are more likely to become exhausted or even unwell.
Having a break also means that the person you care for has a change of scene, a chance to talk to and meet other people. It may also make life easier in an emergency if there are regular alternative arrangements already in place.
For further information about taking a break visit Carers UK – Taking A Break.
If you want to have a longer break, with or without the person you care for, here are some of the options (if you are caring for an adult):
- A respite break/short stay in a residential home for the person you care for
- A care agency/care worker to live in your home while you take a break
- A sitting service i.e. someone coming into your home to stay with the person you care for while you go out for a short time
- The person you care for attending a day centre or other activity on a regular basis
- A holiday for yourself or together with the person you care for
Help with Costs
If you are eligible Bucks County Council Adult Social Care may be able to help with the costs of a break or extra support in the home. The person you care for will need to have an assessment and as part of a care package Social Services may pay all or part of, for example, sessions at a day centre or a respite break in a care home
As a carer you are entitled to a carer’s assessment which looks at your right to have a break, amongst other things. If you are eligible Social Services may be able to fund a sitting service so you can have a break or pursue education/learning opportunities or pay for a respite break.
Make sure you and the person you care for are claiming all the benefits and discounts to which you are entitled and which will help with the costs of respite or a sitting service. Call Carers Bucks on 0300 777 2722 or email to see how to get a benefits check.
You may have enough income or savings to be able to pay for a break yourself but in all likelihood you will need to organise it yourself. Call Carers Bucks on 0300 777 2722 to get information and advice on how to go about this.
People aged 65 and older have the highest risk of falling, with 30% of people older than 65 and 50% of people older than 80 falling at least once a year (NICE CG161). As well as personal injury, falls can also affect confidence – and through raising awareness we hope to reduce the number of falls in Buckinghamshire. Please take the time to watch this 10 minute presentation to help support you in proactively taking steps that can help to reduce your falls risk. Please feel free to share this presentation with your friends, family and carers. We want people to proactively listen to this voiceover and to consider their own falls risk.