Safety Advice for Carers

carers

carers

A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness or mental health problem (Carers Week). This can be a 15 year old girl looking after a parent with an alcohol problem or an 80 year old woman looking after her husband who has Alzheimer’s disease (Carers Trust). Being a carer can be a hugely rewarding experience, as around 6.5 million people in the UK are carers and it is estimated that by 2037, the number of carers in the UK will rise to 9 million (Carers UK).

Research conducted by Carers UK (2017) found that 74% of the UK public feel carers are not sufficiently valued by society and over 3 million people juggle care with work. However, significant demands of caring means that, 1 in 5 carers are forced to give up work altogether. 43% of people that took part in the survey mentioned that they couldn’t manage the stress or responsibility of being a carer and 46% wouldn’t be able to cope financially.

Carers can also fall victim to verbal and physical abuse. In recent news a mental health carer was attacked and knocked unconscious by her patient. This news story and the research above highlights the importance of ensuring the safety of a carer’s health, as they can find it challenging to take care of their own well-being whilst caring for others.

Carers Week is an annual campaign that helps to raise awareness of caring and highlight the challenge faced by carers in the UK. This year Carers Week is taking place between the 11th – 17th of June 2018. We compile some of the key tips and advice below to help you with your health and mental well-being:

  • Although it’s difficult to find time when you’re caring, it’s important that you occasionally do something you enjoy. This could be going for a walk, run, gym or other hobbies. This will help your own mental health as well as give you some time to recharge your mind.
  • If you’re a carer who visits a patient’s home, then it would be a good idea to find out more about the patient. This will help you to be prepared and be aware of any potential risks, especially if you’re working alone. It would also be advisable to carry a personal safety device to help you raise an alarm if you feel like urgent assistance is required.
  • Prioritise your work and manage time effectively, this will help you to complete some of the big tasks you may have and free up some time in the day.
  • Coping with stress is important when you’re caring for someone. Remember to eat a balanced diet and sleep for a minimum of 7-8 hours. Listening to music can also help you to relax and reduce stress.
  • The survey conducted by Carers UK (2017) found that 43% of carers struggle to cope financially. Contact your local council as they can provide allowance or grants to help support you if you’re caring for someone.
  • When caring for someone it’s easy to feel isolated. If you find it hard to get out of the house, ask people to come over. A cup of tea with a friend can really help.

Let us use this Carers Week to remember the important change a carer can make to someone’s life and the fact that we need to recognise them as an individual with health and well-being needs of their own. If you would like more information regarding Carers Week, click here.