Do you know you’re a carer?

Wow I’m a carer?! My immediate thought is that I’m going to use it as my new strapline. Actually on second thoughts I think I’ll go for carer/ superhero – I mean who doesn’t want to be a superhero after all 🙂

What is a carer?

I had personally never ever considered this title. My perception of a carer was for those people who supported the physical needs of others.

But I have learnt since that if you provide help and support to a partner, parent, child, friend or neighbour who could not manage without your help due to physical or mental illness, disability, frailty, life-limiting illness or addiction then you are a carer.

From having a carer’s assessment with a super lovely lady, I was asked questions such as how many hours I spend offering emotional support, physical support, how many daily tasks I carry out, such as shopping, cleaning, giving lifts in the car etc.

At the end of the assessment, I was given the equivalent to what I would class as a “relaxation voucher” which could be used towards something therapeutic such as two or three massages.

Hooray for massages (which are undoubtedly amazing) but boooooo to the pain that will hit me once I forget how good the massages were and go back to caring. I was also given some information on where to seek support / help for carers … but I often find this a bit of job in itself. It can often get too time-consuming, plus a lot of support groups take place in the day, which can be difficult to attend.

I think the caregiving experience can be very overwhelming and I worry about people burning out, because it’s definitely no easy feat, so here are some tips that may help 🙂

Five Tips to help avoid carer burnout

  • REWARD YOURSELF – You’re ace and if you experience a particularly tough caregiving experience, you really deserve to reward yourself. I know it doesn’t always feel that way but you really do and it may serve as a good pick-me-up. Having your favourite coffee (mine is a Caramel Frappuccino….mmmm) or having some lovely food, running a bath with candles or playing an x-box game can really help – these are just a few ideas but honestly whatever it takes.
  • KNOW THAT IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT – When you’re caregiving and you see the person you’re caring for in distress or not improving, it can be devastating and have a negative impact on you. It’s human nature to blame yourself sometimes but really an illness / condition is just that and sadly we don’t have the ‘super powers’ to always improve it. Just know that you are doing your best and that person (even though they may not be able to show it) is having a much more positive experience because of YOU!
  • KNOW YOUR LIMITS – Sometimes we run on empty just to keep going but actually just like a car, we need to refuel and know when the petrol (or diesel) is running low. If you are finding yourself constantly tired and feel like you’re being hit with a metaphorical sledgehammer, then it could be time to have a break. We all have our limits and we need to take a rest before we reach them.
  • RESEARCH – Research the condition/ illness or anything the person you’re caring for is experiencing. It won’t give all the answers but will help in understanding what you’re managing. Care for Carers website is also a lovely place for people to share stories/experiences with one another.
  • TALK TO OTHERS – Definitely not always easy, but even it’s a complete stranger and not friends/family/colleagues then perhaps someone at a support group or counsellor etc. You need an outlet and somewhere and someone to share your feelings with 🙂 Caregiving is HARD and sometimes you’ll need to let that out of your system. It really will help, promise,

Hope it helps

x Rebecca x

One thought on “Do you know you’re a carer?

  1. juliasdementiablog says:

    Thanks Rebecca. Yes, you are a carer! Thanks for the carers tips. Very helpful. I definitely agree about carers’ burnout and the need to take care of yourself. My mother who lives with dementia, is in a care home so I’m not providing practical day-to-day support, but I have moved to Wales to visit frequently and to work with carers to help improve mum’s well-being. So I regard myself as a carer too! I haven’t experienced burnout, but I experienced a kind emotional burn out. Over 18 months I suffered three serious infections, two of which resulted in sepsis and emergency hospital admissions. So even, I agree the message to all people who support someone with dementia, even if you don’t recognise your role as carer, watch out for your health, take time for yourself and indulge occasionally. Enjoy the massages.

    Liked by 1 person

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