Offering support for family carers can make a real difference. This gesture could improve quality of life for both the person giving and person receiving care.
6.5 million people in the UK (equivalent to one-in-eight adults) provide care for someone close to them, with 1.3 million delivering over 50 hours of care per week.
Due in part to our ageing population, a further 6,000 people take on a new carer role each day.
Every one of these people provides a vital service. But, caring for a relative or close friend can be physically and emotionally taxing.
Being a family carer means making sacrifices. It can impact on everything from your free time, family life and relationships to your health, job and living arrangements.
So, if you're looking to make a meaningful change in the New Year, providing support for family carers might just be the most valuable thing you could offer.
What can I do to provide support for family carers?
There are many ways you can provide support for family carers, but these are some of the key areas:
1. Be present
Being physically present - even if you're not carrying out typical care duties - can make a real difference.
Simply checking-in and spending some time talking to the person receiving care could be hugely appreciated by the care receiver and family carer.
If you can't be present physically, try to be present in other ways. A phone or video call, letter, or even a simple text message can help show that you're emotionally invested in the care arrangement.
2. Offer assistance
If you can, think about offering to help out with the care duties and arrangements themselves.
Ask the family carer if there's any particular task(s) you could take on that would help them get on with something they've had to put to one side.
Even if you're not based nearby, you can pitch in with researching the various care resources and support options available, then help out with the set-up process.
3. Provide advice
Acting as a family carer often requires tough decisions. But, you can be a much-needed sounding board.
This helps to share the responsibility and ensure you've considered all relevant factors. You might even feel comfortable providing a second perspective on the care arrangement itself.
If the care receiver's condition deteriorates, or if you feel the family carer is having difficulty, you could help them explore alternative care arrangements. Your primary options would be either residential or live-in care.
Residential care would require some degree of upheaval. The care receiver would need to move out of their home and adapt to a new setting.
Live-in care would allow the care receiver to stay in their own home - close to friends and family. A dedicated, live-in team would then provide round-the-clock care and support.
Use this advice to reach out and offer support for family carers in 2018. The experience might just change your life, as well as those of the people you're supporting.
Ensure family carers have the chance to take a break, or pass on the reins, when care needs become overwhelming. Speak with the friendly team at The Good Care Group.