June 2017 : Carer Wellbeing

What is a carer?

Anyone who cares for a person who, without this support, wouldn’t be able to manage is a carer.

Carers can be any age and their reason for taking on a carer role can vary massively. They could be caring for a partner, child, relative, friend or even a neighbour for any number of reasons; physical illness or disability, learning difficulties, mental health problems or frailty to name but a few.

Doing daily household tasks, providing personal care (bathing, dressing etc) and offering emotional support are all roles that a carer may take on.

The relationships that exist between a person and someone they are caring for means that many people don’t realise that they are carers.

By recognising yourself as a carer you can access a range of local support to help you cope with the pressures that can develop as a result. Within such a role it’s easy to neglect our own health and wellbeing at the expense of the person we are caring for but it’s just as important to keep yourself well.

Young carers (under 18)

Some people start caring at a very young age, often for a parent or sibling, and don’t realise they are carers. We believe that young carers have the same rights and opportunities as all children and young people and should be able to learn, achieve, develop friendships and enjoy positive, healthy childhoods just like other children.

If you or someone you know is a young carer, there is support available, for more information please visit the Bracknell Forest Council young carers page or call 01344 774758.

Carers’ support and looking after yourself

Stress or disturbance by the person you are caring for in the night can lead to a lack of sleep. Simple things such as not drinking caffeine too late in the day, turning off electronics at night and getting enough exercise can all help to improve sleep. If, however, lack of sleep continues then your GP can help with this.

Being a carer doesn’t come without its pressures. The many demands made on our time and energy and the expectations we have of ourselves can cause stress, which can lead to depression. Talking to friends or family, or using local support groups can help with this. If, however, you would rather talk confidentially then details of our local Talking Therapies service can be found on our ‘what to look out for – carers’ page.

Caring can be a full time job. It’s important that you find time for yourself and take a break from the responsibilities that being a carer brings. Family or friends, support organisations or Bracknell Forest Council can all offer support while you take a break. To find out what support you can visit the Bracknell Forest Council website or call 01344 351500 for a free carers assessment.

Free NHS Health Checks are offered every five years to people aged 40 to 74 years old. This is a "midlife MOT“ which ensures that the body’s most important systems are running smoothly. You should be invited by your GP every five years but if it’s been longer than this, please contact your GP surgery and arrange a health check.

If you are caring for someone, you may be concerned about falling ill and how this might  affect you as a carer and the person you care for. Carers are eligible to receive the seasonal flu vaccine, which is free each winter. Talk to your GP for further information.

Support for carers

Signal for Bracknell Forest Carers 

A new carers support service for all unpaid carers. Call 01344 266088, email info@signal4carers.org.uk or visit www.signal4carers.org.uk

The Bracknell Carers' group

Meets on the third Thursday of each month with alternate coffee mornings (10am to 12 noon) and lunches (12 noon to 2 pm). For further details please contact Sharon, Bracknell Family Liaison Worker, on 0300 777 8539. Mencap also offers respite trips and information sessions for carers. Visit their website for more information.

Berkshire Talking Therapies 

A free, friendly service that helps people with problems such as anxiety, depression, stress and phobias . Take a look at their website, call 0300 365 2000 or email talkingtherapies@berkshire.nhs.uk for more information.

Kooth

A free online counselling for young people. Visit Kooth's website to start talking to a fully trained counsellor.

Youthline

A confidential counselling service for young people. Visit their website or call 01344 311200 for more information.

Other sources of support

There is also plenty of support online. For example, Carers UK has a forum where you can meet other carers anonymously, share experiences and find support.