Carers need our support now more than ever. According to a National Care Forum (NCF) survey, only 22% of social care workers considered a priority for a COVID-19 test have been able to access one.
And that’s not taking into account the UK’s 6.5 million unpaid carers who are looking after family members or friends with disabilities, mental or physical illness, or those in need of extra help as they grow older.
This week we’re doing our bit to support the nation’s invisible key workers.
Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring. It highlights the challenges unpaid carers face, recognising the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.
This year, carers are facing a wealth of new challenges as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Many people are taking on more caring responsibilities for their relatives and friends who are disabled, ill, or older and who need support.
Caring for your own well-being
Undoubtedly, caring for someone is a full-time job. And, consequently, it can be hard to stay on top of your own physical and mental health. But with additional stress and worry caused by COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to look after yourself.
Gov.uk is offering the following advice on how to look after your well-being during the crisis:
- Take care of your mind as well as your body: set five minutes aside for mindfulness or another mediation technique and make sure you remember to eat.
- Try and get one bit of physical exercise in a day: this will manage stress levels, encourage positive feelings and help you sleep. Unsure how to squeeze this activity in? Public Health England (PHE) has a variety of quick exercises you can do at home.
- Lean on your friends, family and other networks during this time. Build some face-to-face time into your routine; you can still stay connected via video chat.
Other helpful resources for carers
It can give you peace of mind to chat with someone who knows exactly what you’re going through. And although it’s difficult to talk to someone face-to-face right now, here’s a list of online forums where you can contact other carers remotely:
- Carers First: open 24/7, this support service is available to all carers who are aged 18 and over.
- Carers UK online forum: this is a comprehensive hub from the UK’s membership charity for carers.
- Gransnet’s Care and Carers forum: older carers can find like-minded individuals to share their experiences with here.
- Carers.org: has more information about where you can speak to other carers online.
It’s OK to share your concerns with others you trust. In fact, by doing so, you might end up providing support to them too. Alternatively, you can use the NHS recommended helpline.
If you’re worried that you or someone you look after may be at high risk from coronavirus, NHS 111 has direct guidance through their online coronavirus helpline. However, if your (or their) symptoms become severe, Call 111 and let them know you are a carer.
How Careium can provide respite for carers
Looking for more support? Telecare services can give carers some well-needed peace of mind in order to take a break. Careium also provides a telephone checking service where we can call at an appropriate time to check that the person you’re caring for is OK.
For more information about how a personal alarm could help, give us a call: 0300 333 6511 or email [email protected]