Information for Carers
A Carer is someone who provides care or practical, emotional or social support for a partner, relative, or friend with advanced illness living at home. This section gives practical advice and signposting for Carers.
The UK has nearly six million Carers who are providing care to family and friends without pay, which can add additional strain at already difficult times. The government has committed to resolving these issues, looking for ways to support and help carers finically. There are also many carers who have other commitments in terms of their employment and children while trying to support family members who are dependent on help.
Often carers feel they have a duty to care for their loved ones and that it is important to spend time with those that are precious to them. However, this can bring strain and worries to the Carer such as:
- Feeling overworked and physically exhausted
- The risk of ill-health including physical and mental strain (back troubles, poor sleep, depression/low mood and anxiety)
- Stress on family relationships and friendships
- Impact and limitations on employment and career
- Financial worries
- Increase feeling of isolation, helplessness, sadness – and sometimes regret, anger and guilt.
Adjustments to routine and acceptance of change to a loved one’s health can take times to come to terms with. Each situation is unique and each individual copes differently with the changes to both theirs and their families lives. Although these changes can bring families and loved ones closer together they can also create difficult dynamics and put strain on relationships therefore essential that help is available to offer support to not only the individual with a diagnosis but that of the carer.
As a carer you may be involved with providing support with the following:
- Hygiene needs such as washing, toileting and dressing
- Getting to bed
- Housework, laundry, cooking or shopping
- Responsibility for paperwork, bills and financial matters
- Attending medical or hospital appointments
- Monitoring care being given at home by professional caregivers.
- Most carers need help and support at some point so that the best care can continue to be given.
What can help?
Having good information about the illness of the person you are caring for and about their treatment.
Who can help?
Alice House Hospice clinical team will be able to offer support with any of the issues surrounding being a carer. They will be able to put you in contact with other providers who specialise in supporting carers physically, emotionally and giving advice financially. The Hospice are able to offer support for patient’s and carers in the home, please see our Homecare Section.
There are also many other care providers who offer support in a patient’s own home and your Clinical Team will be happy to support you in identifying which services best meets your needs.
Looking after yourself physically
When caring for others we often forget to take good care of ourselves however, it is extremely important to ensure there is no breakdown in care and you continue to provide the care you so wish to do. It is very important to eat well and ensure you ask for help when things become difficult; you should also seek help if you are struggling to sleep due to the pressures you are facing.
It is also wise to get support on how to physically provide care to someone including the use of equipment. A Physiotherapist and/or Occupational Therapist may be able to identify the needs of both you and your loved ones to ensure that you remain safe while providing care; the Hospice clinical staff will be able to help organise an assessment for you.
Caring for someone is not always easy and at times can feel frustrating, you may feel it benefits you to talk to someone about how the cared for person’s illness and treatment are affecting you and your life. Having someone you can trust can give you the opportunity to express you worries and give you support to overcome your concerns. At times you may feel anxious but having time out to discuss these worries may help you. You may prefer to have these conversations with a relative or good friend who you feel you can trust or you might find it easier to talk to a professional outside of the family circle. The Hospice can signpost you to the appropriate services to support you with this matter.
It is important to continue doing things which give you pleasure and help you to relax; try to make time for
maintaining friendships and social contacts; don’t be afraid to ask for help.
To find out how to get in touch with us to speak to someone for more information visit our Contact Us section of this website.