As a new carer you may be feeling overwhelmed, worried you’re doing something wrong, or abit like you are facing this all alone. Here is a blog to help reassure you that you can do this and get through the early days:
- Learn through experience Whether you have had to become a carer quickly, or have gradually taken on more caring responsibilities over time, there is no script to learn. Remind yourself that you don’t need to know everything immediately, and you are not a bad carer if you make mistakes. Over time, you will learn their specific needs and desire, and how you can work well together and work out the best routines.
- Do some carers training There are often carers training sessions that run in your local community. This can be really useful to cover the basics of caring, such as communication, financial advice, and providing the best support. This is also a great way to connect to other carers in your local area. Contact HERE to find out where your nearest training session is.
- Find a carers group – Caring can often feel lonely and isolating, even if you are committed to the person you care for and are happy with this responsibility. There are plenty of carers cafes or community groups that are dedicated to supporting carers and providing some company for you. Call HERE on 0300 222 5709 to find out your local group
- Join an online forum Another way to contact carers is online forums. These are great if you don’t have time to go to a group during the day, but are keen to talk to people who will be able to relate to your situation. Join the Carers UK forum today and this can cover a range of issues or you can ask something yourself.
- Consider assistive equipment Getting the right equipment can make daily life easier. From fitting hand rails up the stairs, to getting a bath seat, or even just a dressing aid to help put clothes on, they can be really helpful. This can help your loved one feel more independence as well as making your daily tasks easier. You may be able to get some of these for free, or for a reduced rate. Contact the HERE helpline to find out where your nearest mobility centre is.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help – If you are finding caring really tough, don’t be afraid to ask for help. This does not mean you are failing or you are a bad carer, it is natural to get abit overwhelmed. Call Carers UK Adviceline on 0808 808 7777 for someone to listen to your problems or talk you through your situation.
- Create an emergency care plan – You might worry that if something happens to you you might not be able to continue your caring duties. It is important to create an emergency plan and share this with family, friends and neighbours. This will include:
- Name and contact details of the person you care for
- Name and contact details of their GP
- A list of emergency contact numbers
- Details of any regular external care providers
- Their condition, medication, dosage, where their medication is kept
- How to access the property, eg. does the neighbour have a spare key?
- Take care of yourself – Caring is such a selfless role to take on and sometimes your needs feel completely forgotten. Remember that you need to look after yourself and practice self care at times. Here are some examples of what you could do:
- Get a befriender there are many services that offer respite to carers for a few hours whilst they sit with your loved one. This can give you time to meet a friend, go shopping or just take some time for yourself. Call the HERE helpline to find a local befriending scheme to you
- Take up a relaxing hobby maybe you enjoy gardening, listening to music or drawing. Make some time in your day, even if only for a short time, you will feel better afterwards
- Talk to a friend Catching up with a friend can be a great way to boost your mood. Go to your favourite coffee shop or incite them over on a sunny day and enjoy your time with good company.
If you would like some more support about caring, there are plenty of pages on the HERE site. Or you can call the helpline on 0300 222 5709 and talk to our impartial and friendly staff about any difficulties you are having.