Every day around 6,000 people become carers and for many it’s a new experience. Many people may not even be aware the level of care and assistance they give to a family member or friend would class them as a full-time carer.
Here are a few tips and suggestions to consider when you first take on this role.
- The first thing you must do is recognise yourself as a carer. If you think you may be one it’s more than likely you are.
- Make sure you register as a carer at your GP surgery. This will not only provide you with information and support it will also make them aware of your new role. This can help with free annual checks and vaccinations as well as helping to schedule appointments at convenient times.
- Work with your GP and Social Services so you have access to any equipment and aids you need to assist you.
- Register with the local pharmacy delivery service so you can have prescriptions delivered to you at your convenience.
- Make sure you are aware of your rights and what you are entitled to as a carer. This will ensure you are claiming all the relevant financial help and benefits.
- Keep a list of all contact names and useful phone numbers so you have easy access to them.
- Speak to other carers. Find out if there are any local support groups or online groups. These will not only provide company and support but give you and others a chance to share thoughts, tips, ideas and experiences. It can be very difficult to find the information you need. Having support from people who have been through it before or are going through it may provide you with the answers to your questions.
- Another great information source, which many people are not aware of, is your local Healthwatch (03000 68 3000). They can provide you with information, advice and expertise about all aspects of caring, health services and social services.
- Keep a diary of symptoms, treatments, medication, contacts, services, organisations, useful information, tips and advice.
- In some cases carers don’t just deal with health needs. The Help and Information Service (0345 051 3925) are an independent service who provide access to experts offering advice and information on common areas of everyday life. They deal with Health and Care but also Law, Mortgages and Insurance. Their website and phone line is free and available 24 hours a day.
- Don’t forget to make time for yourself.
These are just a few things to consider if you are new to caring. It’s important everyone keeps sharing their experiences and advice so we can all help and support each other.
Wavelength (01708 621 101) supports many people including carers, the elderly and disabled people who all feel isolated and lonely. If you know somebody who could benefit from our help please contact us and apply on their behalf.