So you’re about to become a carer? Some things you should know

Finding yourself in the position of becoming a carer for an older person or someone with a disability, can bring about all kinds of anxieties and concerns. Being a carer requires not just time and patience, but also compassion and organisation. For those of you that work full time, this can add extra strain to an already busy life, so it’s important that you consider all the implications, in order for you to provide the best level of care that you possibly can. This includes both taking care of yourself and seeking and accepting external help where appropriate.

Looking after yourself
One of the most important considerations for any carer is the need to look after oneself. You’ll find it much more difficult to provide effective support if you’re rundown, stressed and unable to cope with your daily life.  Don’t forget that you need to take regular breaks and allow yourself some personal time. You should also ensure that you’re eating a healthy diet, getting some form of exercise, (even if it’s just a daily walk outdoors), and that you’re taking time for rest and relaxation. Make sure that you fit in a couple of hours of ‘me time’ each week. You’ll find that you’re a much more effective carer when you allow yourself a break.

Enlisting external support
If you’re finding it a struggle to provide the necessary amount of care on your own, or you’re unable to leave the person you care for alone, you should get in touch with your local Social Services Department. They can offer all kinds of practical help, from organising respite care to putting you in contact with local carers’ support groups, and offering counselling to help you to deal with any associated stress.

Support Groups
While support from family and friends is vitally important for your role as a carer, sometimes you just need that additional help that being part of a support group can bring. It can make a big difference to talk to other carers who have firsthand experience of the stresses and strains that accompanies the role, plus you’ll be given the opportunity to share your experiences too. If you’re unable to attend a local group, you may find that online forums can provide the outlet you need, allowing you to engage with other carers without having to leave home.

Make life easier
There are many products and services on the market to make life easier when caring for disabled or older people. The role of a carer can be both physically and emotionally challenging, so it makes sense to find ways to alleviate some of the daily stresses. Whether this means installing a stair lift or adapting the bathroom, these products can help with routine daily care tasks and add an extra level of safety for the person you are caring for. Here at Walk In Showers and Baths, we have practical solutions for bathing, from walk in baths and showers to fully adapted bathrooms, which make bathing much safer and far more pleasurable too.

You have rights too
And finally, don’t forget that as a carer for a relative or friend, you still have rights. Get in touch with your local Social Services department and ask for a carer’s assessment. This will ensure that you’ll get both the practical and financial support that you’re entitled to. For more details, take a look at the Carers Direct website, which will give you all the information you need.

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