All too often we hear how carers neglect their own health and wellbeing as they spend most, if not all of their time and energy looking after someone. Elizabeth, a parent/carer, was referred to Carers Support West Sussex (CSWS) by a friend who recognised that Elizabeth needed support. Elizabeth is the main carer for her daughter, Ami, who is 32 years old and has severe learning difficulties and challenging behaviour. Elizabeth explains how taking care of her daughter 27/7 is very stressful.

“Not everyone understands what we as carers go through. Ami is a lovely and kind girl, but sometimes she can she get frustrated and take it out on me. But when I registered with Carers Support West Sussex last August, it changed my way of thinking. I felt that I am loved and not alone, and that there are people ready to support me and who appreciate my work as an unpaid carer, which is not easy and full of challenges. Staying at home all the time is not a good thing, as you think too much about everything. When your mind is unsettled, you are not able to think positively and look after yourself.”

Elizabeth called into the Carer Response Line and had a chat with a Wellbeing Support Worker about her caring role and what support services she could access.

As a result she applied for a grant from our The Carer Health and Wellbeing Fund and says she has used it to have her hair and nails done. “I feel more confident in going out and meeting people because I am looking after myself,” she says.

Elizabeth also attended one of our Carer Learning and Wellbeing Programme workshops on understanding more about wills and power of attorney and says: “It was helpful and gave me some things to consider for Ami’s future.”

Having the choice and control to decide when, why and how to access support as a carer is important, but sometimes just having someone there to listen, without the need for a solution, is equally important. “Being part of Carers Support West Sussex has given me self-esteem and made me feel valued. It has helped me fight loneliness by encouraging me to attend various programmes, social events and learning sessions within my local community. It’s good to have someone who will just listen,” says Elizabeth.

Carers Support West Sussex is a single point of contact for carers within the West Sussex area. Carers can contact us on 0300 028 8888 to access information, advice and support.