At some point in life, you may have to care for someone, whether it is your mother, father, child, sibling, or grandparent.
Looking after someone, you love or care about can be extremely rewarding but can also take a toll on your mental and physical health. As a carer, you put someone else’s needs before you own, which can be exhausting but there are some steps which may help reduce the pressures of being a carer. It is important you take time out and manage your own wellbeing whilst caring for someone else, to ensure you can care for them the best as can be.
Talk about your feelings and share your thoughts.
As a carer, you take on a lot of responsibility, it is important to speak about your feelings and have someone you can confide in and talk to. Whether it is a family member, friend, neighbour or a professional.
However, if you would not feel comfortable speaking to any of these people, there are online carers forums you can join, where you can talk to others virtually rather than in person.
It is good to know your strengths and weaknesses, define what you are good at as a carer and what you may need extra support with. It is also important to try and accept the things you cannot change and realise you do not have to do things alone; it is ok to ask for help.
Write down the benefits of having extra support, identify the reasons your property may need adapting to be more accessible and any other changes that could make your life a little bit easier and improve the quality of life of the person you are caring for.
If you need additional help to care for your loved one, don’t be afraid to seek support.
Take time out.
At certain times, as a carer you may feel under pressure and stressed, therefore it is vital, you are able to have a little ‘me’ time, whether that is going for a walk, having a nap or meeting up with friends, you should try to make time for the things you enjoy.
As a carer, you may feel solely responsible for the people you are caring for and may feel guilty when you take time away or take a break. However, remember, you should not feel guilty, if you are a carer, you are a kind, special person who is doing a very selfless job, helping a loved one, family member or friend. A short break may help you feel a lot better.
“I started to get my nails done every three weeks, whilst my husband was looked after, I really looked forward to my appointments, spending time in the salon with other ladies, and relaxing whilst getting my nails done.“ – Wendy, her husband’s carer
Sometimes the pressure of caring for someone else can build up, it is understandable and may be a sign that you need a longer break. Ask another family member if they can care for the person, you are caring for, however if this is not an option, there are many respite services available in Salford.
At Aspire, we have two respite facilities:
Our Poppy Dementia Suite offers respite support for people living with dementia – read more.
Our Granville Respite offers respite support for people living with Autism and learning disabilities – read more.
Be prepared and organised.
We know as a carer, you barely get a minute to yourself throughout the day however when you do, it is a good idea to plan your time and list your caring responsibilities. This may seem time consuming however it will help you to be organised throughout the week and minimise the feeling of stress.
Consider what could make your life easier, such as online shopping , meal preparation or even asking your pharmacist to use a daily medication box to help get you organised. Sometimes a couple of hours once a week can save you a great deal of time daily.
Look after your mental and physical health.
Looking after your mental and physical health is especially important if you are a carer. If you are fit and healthy, it won’t only help you, but it gives you a better chance of providing the best care for your loved one. You can keep healthy by eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly and looking after your mental health too.
At Aspire, we hold daily activities at our dementia friendly hub which range from chair-based exercises, tai chi, kurling and much more. All our groups are dementia friendly and accessible for you and the person living with dementia. Our Humphrey Booth Resource Centre is a safe environment for you to visit with the person you care for, it is a chance for you to talk to people in similar situations whilst the person you are caring for can chat to others, make friends, and join in with activities. Find out more about our here:
Join support groups.
At our dementia friendly Humphrey Booth Resource Centre, we have a Dementia Carers and Ex Carers Support group which is held monthly and organised by Pat Foy, Jackie Gandy, and Pam Williamson.
Carers and Ex Carers support group is a chance to share your dementia journey and meet new people who share their experiences. You do not have to do it alone. The group also arranges guest speakers, day trips and meals out.
Join the group today, by calling:
Pat Foy – 0161 788 9806
Jackie Gandy – 0161 736 4059
Pam Williamson – 0161 794 8219