HMC home page
Do you look after someone who really depends on you?
TIPS FOR CARERS [By Michael Hydon]
From my experience as a Carer learning as I went along, these practical steps should help --- but you will need to take strong and positive action to get things moving. Consider which of these Tips might be most appropriate in your situation:
1. Ensure that you are registered as a Carer with your GP; then update your doctor regularly on how you are managing.
· As caring pressures can affect your own health in the longer term, your GP needs to be aware of your changing situation. Request and complete a Carers' Registration Form from your doctor's surgery.
2. Raise your confidence and also ability to talk to doctors / consultants by learning about the medical condition(s) involved. Get in touch with the relevant national charity: eg British Heart Foundation, Stroke Association, Alzheimer's Society, Osteoporosis Society, etc. All have contact 'phone lines and web-sites --- and may have a local branch or group for support.
3. As needed, ask your doctor to make a referral to an NHS Occupational Therapist to assess what special equipment might be required for the person for whom you care. That will also make your life easier too.
· Equipment loaned without charge through the NHS may include a raised toilet seat, a bedside commode, a hoist, wheelchair or even a hospital-style electrically operated bed.
4. Additionally, a doctor's referral may be made to the District Nurses to set up regular home visits by one of their team. Get them to check you too!
5. Have a 'Carer's Needs Assessment' via Social Services that will identify your own needs and ways in which you could receive support. If your situation changes significantly, request another Assessment.
6. Contact the Carers' Support Organisation for the county area in which you live, highlight your situation and seek guidance on what relevant information and support is available for you. These bodies are independent of Social Services. For example:
West Surrey Carers Support Waverley 01252-718166
West Sussex Carers Support West Sussex 0300-0288888
Hampshire Carers Together in Hampshire 01794-519495
Support Organisations may offer a monthly Carers Group for mutual help and encouragement, so try the nearest. At Feb. 2016, one has just started in Haslemere --- contact 01252-718166.
7. Review if the person for whom you care might be eligible for any financial support [such as Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance or even a reduction in Council Tax!] and apply for that. Do you qualify for Carers Allowance? One must demonstrate that eligibility criteria are satisfied fully. Seek help if needed to make the best case possible.
8. Identify and remove any trip-hazards --- and then fit grab-rails. Any fall can be very dangerous particularly for an older person, with the potential to break bones and shorten independent living.
9. Have emergency arrangements in place, particularly if the person for whom you care is vulnerable in any way. For example:
· Carry a fully charged mobile 'phone so that you can be contacted.
· Get and carry with you a Carer's Emergency Card so that if you have an accident your nominated contacts and authorities can be alerted to arrange alternative care.
· Consider a Careline attachment to your 'phone system. The person needing help [eg after a severe fall] wears a neck pendant or wrist strap with a press button that can raise the alarm in a 24/7 call centre and call out emergency services in your absence.
· Inside the home, a two-way baby monitor is useful if a bed-bound person needs to call for assistance from a Carer.
· Install a Key Safe outside an external door so that emergency services [and relatives / trustworthy friends] can find a door key to enter the home. Register the safe code with Careline if used.
10. Find ways of reducing your work-load or making it easier.
· Pay someone else to do regular weekly chores, such as cleaning.
· Apply for Blue Badge free parking, if eligible.
· Get shopping delivered to the home via Internet or 'phone ordering.
· Try home-delivered frozen meals [eg Wiltshire] or Meals on Wheels.
· Cook in bulk and freeze some for a reheated meal later.
· Ask a trusted friend to sit with the person for whom you are caring.
· Participate in a 'Caring with Confidence' course [also via Internet].
11. Listen to friends and family. If the situation just becomes too difficult, 'let go' and give up part of your caring role. Involve your doctor and seek external help. Encourage the person for whom you care to 'let go' also and accept fully that others will be there for them instead of just you on your own. Also, something as simple as a cuddly toy can be a comfort.
· Don't delay in obtaining professional help from outside agencies offering specialist services [eg nursing and end-of-life care].
12. Above all, protect / preserve your own health by ensuring that you get some regular respite and relaxation --- and don't forget to take your own medication! Seek help from friends or family to allow you to get out.
· Thanks to a friend coming to sit with my wife, I was able to get to a weekly 1 hour 'stretch and tone class'. That was really beneficial.
--- and lastly:
We hope that some of these Tips might help you, as having a caring role is demanding.
Drop into the Open Door Lounge of Haslemere Methodist Church [at Lion Green, Weyhill, GU27 1LD] as you are able for company and support. It is open from 10 am to 12 noon on Tues, Wed. Fri. and Sat. with coffee / tea served. Additionally, I can signpost individual carers in the Haslemere and Three Counties area to the most relevant sources of help --- so please get in touch if you'd like to meet at the church.
~ Michael Hydon
Co-ordinator of the Carers' Network, Haslemere Methodist Church and a former carer
© 2016 Michael Hydon 'Tips for Carers' updated Feb.'16 email@example.com
Church Home page