Providing support for family carers can be immensely important; it shows how much you value their efforts and allows them to have a well-deserved break every now and again.
To mark Carers Week 2018 and honour the vital work that family carers perform up and down the country, we've prepared this short guide to the ways you can offer them both practical and emotional support.
Ideas for providing support for family carers
Every care situation is different, and taking steps to personalise your approach will make a huge difference. However, these are some options for offering support for family carers that should be widely applicable:
1. Practical assistance
Offering practical assistance to family carers can help them share some of the physical and emotional load they've selflessly taken on.
This will give them scope to take a break and come back fully recharged, which will be beneficial both for them and the person they're caring for.
It might also give them the space they need to focus on priorities they've had to turn away from, like time with their own family or friends, their job or professional development.
You could offer to help with a specific task (e.g. accompanying them to a doctor's appointment). Or, you could take on care responsibility for a period of time (an afternoon, day or week). Even if you're not based nearby, you can call and check in regularly, or offer your time to help with administration.
Family carers don't take on this responsibility for the recognition. But, a gift will show you're thinking of them and that you truly appreciate their efforts.
It doesn't have to be a big gift; think of the old adage "It's the thought that counts". Try to choose something personal.
Think about gifts that will encourage them to take more time for themselves, or objects related to things they may have had to give up to become a family carer.
Alternatively, arranging a day out is a great way to give them a break and show them how valuable you think their time is.
3. Kind words
Whether it's in a card or a conversation, kind words and the opportunity to chat when needed can help them feel supported from an emotional perspective.
Don't be afraid to tell them just how important they are to you and the rest of the family – both as a person, and in the care role they perform. And, make sure they know you'll be there to talk whenever they need it.
Provide honest, constructive advice if you see an opportunity. If you feel that – despite their best efforts – the care responsibility has become too great, help them think through their options.
Live-in care is an ideal way to gain additional support on either a temporary or permanent basis. This model will keep your loved one safe and supported in their own home. It also helps ensure the time you spend with your loved one is focused on enjoyable experiences, rather than domestic tasks.
Mark Carers Week 2018 by using these handy tips to offer crucial support for family carers. The positive effects – for both the caregiver and receiver could be greater than you realise.
Learn more about how live-in care can help family carers share their load by speaking with our friendly team.