How can I help you?
What are you worried about? See examples below for how I can help.
I want your loved one to be happy and leading a useful, interesting, fulfilled and meaningful life so that you can continue with yours without worrying.
I can look at equipment and devices, which mean that they can call for assistance when they need it without compromising their independence but meaning you know they’re not alone.
I can see what support is available locally, which would enable your loved one to manage the parts of their life they’re currently struggling with and so that they can stay at home for longer.
It may be that with planned, regular short stays away from home your loved one will get the care, support and company they need to be less reliant on you and can then manage at home in between their stays.
It may be your loved one that will consider supported accommodation where they feel safe and secure and has the reassurance of a warden or carers to call on any time, day or night if they need to. There are some fantastic homely places which can offer this and so much more.
If residential care appears to be the only option, I can support you and your loved one to find the place to suit them, where they can have their own room, take their own belongings and still be at the heart of the family who can visit flexibly.
Once the visit to see the GP has reassured you that your loved one is healthy, let me help you to look for activities to take your loved one away from the TV and four walls of their living room, and make their life more interesting and stimulating.
If your loved one has a diagnosis of dementia, there is so much support available to enable them to live at home as independently as possible. From diagnosis to deterioration can be months or years, so help your loved one to make the most of the time they have before the disease progresses.
“There are around 7 million carers in the UK – that is one in ten people. Three in five people will be carers at some point in their lives in the UK. 42% of carers are men and 58% are women.” (Ref Carers Trust)
Many carers I work with do not identify with being called ‘a carer.’ They see what they do as part of a normal loving, caring relationship. They do it because they are caring people.
Carers come from all walks of life, cultures and religions. They may be spouses, parents, sons or daughters, siblings, family or friends. They may live with or close to their loved one.
Carers can also live a distance away from their loved one. They still worry the same, but distance can make it difficult to visit regularly and even more difficult in an emergency. It’s also difficult to find someone who can give you advise and find support locally on your behalf for your loved one.
Sometimes people become responsible for the caring role suddenly when their loved has an accident or an illness which has long-term implications.
As a caring family member, it feels like your duty to care – because if you don’t do it, who will?
Whatever your relationship with your family member or loved one, if you care for and more importantly, about the person you are helping, you are a carer. It is important to consider your own health and well-being, and not to put everyone else first. Otherwise, you will be exhausted, and put your own mental and physical health and well-being at risk.
Caring is anything and everything you provide for your loved one to help them to cope with older age, poor mental or physical health, disability or bereavement. Caring is a spectrum of support; anything from a smile or a gentle touch to say ‘I’m here for you’ or looking after another person 24 hours a day and helping with every aspect of daily living, such as washing, dressing, feeding, and lifting and moving, which that person may not be able to do for themselves.
Other carers look after someone who is fairly independent but might need someone to help with everyday tasks such as paying bills, transport, shopping, housework and getting to appointments.
Carers laugh and cry with the person they care about. They listen to the same memories and stories many times but react as if it’s the first time they’ve heard it. Carers are patient; they cajole and motivate, they tempt to eat, they clean, cook and wash. They stroke a forehead, they brush and tidy hair, they make a cup of tea. They worry about their loved one. Carers frequently put their lives and plans on hold to do this and to be there when they are needed. This can all take an emotional toll on your well-being.
Being a carer can be immensely rewarding but it can also be a hard slog, physically and emotionally. Carers describe it to me as ‘a rollercoaster;’ being sad, overwhelmed and frustrated when you feel like your life is monotonous, relentless, stressful and upsetting. Yet also feeling on top of the world when life is joyful, funny, poignant. Sometimes feeling all of these emotions on the same day, this is completely normal and you aren’t falling apart. When you feel like it’s all too much, don’t panic, I can support you each and every step of the way.
- Be prepared and informed. You never know when things might change in your life
- You may feel you don’t need any additional help right at this moment, but it is important to aware of where to find support for when you do. Especially if your loved one becomes more reliant on your care in the future. Look up resources and phone numbers before you need them, not when you are in the middle of a crisis
- Think about having difficult conversations now, don’t wait until you face a crisis with your loved ones
- Look after yourself, do the things you enjoy to keep your own body and mind healthy and active
- Put your own oxygen mask on first. Make sure you consider your needs as a priority before you offer to support others
- Proceed with caution
- Talk about payment; what will their contribution towards their living or care expenses be. Think through the financial implications of whatever decision is made especially if you need to reduce your hours at work to care for someone
- Don’t offer to have your mum live with you until you’ve thought it through carefully
- Space: will they live separately to you or expect you to be on call whenever they need you
- Consider the plan for the worst-case scenario: dementia, physical decline, increased dependency on you
- Have an escape plan for you and your mum should circumstances change: loss or relocation of your job, bereavement or a new partner, a change in your mental or physical health
- Don’t live your life for other people’s happiness
- Be kind to yourself and make sure you have the support you need in place BEFORE life gets tough.