10 top tips to show support for someone who cares this Carers Week
Guest post by Lily Meyers
Lily Meyers is a Freelance writer who primarily focuses on lifestyle and homecare writing.
According to Carers UK, there are over 6.5 million people who are unpaid carers in the UK. Paid and unpaid carers are vital for the country, taking the strain from the social care system, and this Carers Week, it is important that we do what we can to show how much we value them.
One of the most effective ways that we can show how much we value our unpaid carers is to support them in their well-being and ensure they know their rights. Caring – whether it is paid or unpaid – can take its toll on your physical and mental health, particularly for those who are caring for their friends or loved ones every day. So, this Carers Week, we are looking at making care visible, valued, and supported.
Many emotional and physical strains come with being the support for a person that needs regular care. Often unpaid family or friends who are carers feel the pressure even more as they often work with little or no emotional or financial support and have to deal with the wealth of other emotions that come along with looking after their loved ones.
Here are 10 of my top tips for supporting carers this carers week:
1. Listen and don’t give an opinion
Often one of the most important ways that we can help someone is by just listening. It is important for carers to offload their emotional stresses, and just being there to listen can be a great help. Try to hold back on giving them your opinions unless they ask you to.
2. Offer to help
Often being a carer involves tasks including cleaning, cooking, or just sitting and having a conversation with the person they care for. You can help to take the strain off them by offering to spend some time with the person they care for, even if it is just for a few hours.
3. Invite carers to things
Many unpaid carers feel like they miss out on things because they are busy caring for their loved ones. Make sure that you still invite carers to things to ensure that they still feel included and loved.
4. Make some food
Often carers neglect some of their own health needs as they are so busy looking after someone else. Eating healthy, nutritional meals is essential to stay healthy and full of energy, so cook some energy-boosting meals (perhaps ones that can be frozen) to ensure that they have something good to eat when they don’t have the time or energy to cook themselves.
5. Offer to run errands
Errands can be annoying and time-consuming, so you could offer to run simple errands for the carer – perhaps offer to go to the supermarket for them or run other errands that can take valuable time out of their day.
6. Offer specific things
Sometimes even the best-intentioned offers of help can get too much. Instead of asking them what you can do to help, be more specific about what you are offering – instead of asking ‘how can I help?’, ask them ‘shall I hang the washing out?’, for example.
7. Remind them of how much you appreciate them
Despite the importance of caregiving, carers can often feel under-appreciated. Ensure that you constantly remind them of how helpful they are being and how much you appreciate them.
8. Respite Care
Encourage your family or friends who are carers to take some respite care regularly. According to Helping Hands, ‘providing continuous care can take a massive toll on your physical and mental health and can leave you feeling stressed and burned out. Therefore, it’s important to take a break from your caregiving duties from time to time’.
Carers could do this by going away for a few days or really celebrating and enjoying holidays and time away to rest. Care agencies can organise respite cover for whilst a carer has some time to themselves and enjoys a well-deserved break.
9. Take the carers out
If the carer is living with the person they care for, see if you can organise to take the person they care for out for a few hours to give the carer some time at home on their own. It can be difficult to get alone time when you are living with someone who needs constant care, but a few hours can make a big difference.
10. Encourage support groups
There are many support groups out there. These can be very useful in terms of receiving and offering mutual support as well as tips for how to best deal with the situation that they are in. Try to encourage the carers to join some of these groups.
Care for the Carers has lots of local support groups, do check out our Whats On pages for details. If you would like to know more about the support we can offer, you can contact us on 01323 738390 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to ensure no one is left to care alone.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez
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