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Looking After Yourself

If you are in a caring role, it is vital you participate in looking after yourself – as no one can pour from an empty cup! These acts can be divided into three main pillars: prepare, stay connected and self-care. The list is endless of the action you can take, but the hope is this gives you a good starting point on which to expand

Pillar 1:Prepare

Have you heard the saying ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’? Of course, no one wants to fail, so to help you triumph here is a ‘prepare’ checklist: 

Carer Assessment 

If you are providing necessary care to an adult over the age of 18, you may be entitled to a full Carer Assessment regardless of the number of hours of care and type of care you provide. This includes if you care part time or do not live with the person you care for. There are so many positive outcomes of having a carer assessment with one of our friendly team. All it takes is a phone call to 0300 028 8888. Watch this video to see how an assessment could help you. 

Find out more by clicking here

Contingency Planning 

Have you thought about what would happen to your cared for if you had an unplanned admission into hospital following an accident? To put your mind at rest, should an emergency occur, a contingency plan will provide information so the person you are caring for is supported at the earliest opportunity. Our wellbeing workers can help you complete a form or you can download one from our website. 

Find out more by clicking here 

Do You Have The Right Equipment?

Are you are caring for someone with mobility issues? Do you have worries that medication is being taken correctly? We have a team of experts who will assess the type of equipment to help improve independence, safety and wellbeing. The use of equipment and technology can really help you in your caring role. “The monitor you have provided has helped me to go about my everyday chores and keep a good eye on my husband at the same time.”

Find out more by clicking here

Identifying Yourself As A Carer 

Does your GP know you are a carer? If you inform your GP you are a carer, this will be added to your notes and will entitle you to flexible appointments and other help to support you in your caring role. 

Help Protect Yourself and Others With The Flu Vaccine 

The flu virus kills 11,000 people and hospitalises tens of thousands more in England in an average year. But this is anything but an average year. As a carer, if you catch the flu and become too ill to leave home, it may be more difficult or impossible for you to continue looking after the person you care for. 

If you receive a Carer’s Allowance, you are eligible for a free flu jab on the NHS. You will also be eligible if you are the primary carer for someone who can’t look after themselves. You may still be eligible even if you don’t live with the person you care for.

The flu vaccine is available at GP surgeries, pharmacies and may be offered in some hospital settings. 

Whilst the threat may be invisible, the protection is clear. Help protect yourself and others with the flu vaccine.

Are You Aware Of The Support Available To You? 

Knowledge is power and we want to ensure you are aware of the support available to you as a carer, at the right time and at the right place, so you can access as soon as you need it. We understand research can be time consuming, so give us a call so we can pinpoint what you need. We will provide guidance on the best options for your situation. Whether that is help with hospital admission and discharge or how to access food bank services, we can support you.

Pillar 2:Stay Connected

At CSWS we truly understand the importance of staying connected. There is real benefit in connecting with others who understand what you are going through. Social connection has been shown to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. 

CSWS forms part of your social support network. We have a friendly team who you can turn to in both good times and perhaps not so good times. As one carer put it: “From my experience with Carers Support I feel I can get support when needed. It makes me feel I have an extended family”.

CSWS offer you different forms of support depending on what you feel you need most at that point in time. 

Emotional Support 

By getting in touch with our helpline (0300 028 8888) one of our friendly team will be on hand to offer you that emotional support sometimes needed. We offer that listening ear and open the lines of communication. By talking through your situation, we can establish your needs and suggest solutions to help you move forward. 

Informational Support 

Perhaps you are new to caring and don’t know which way to turn? Or, perhaps there is a hospital admission on the horizon and you just need some information about what to do and the steps you need to take. What ever the situation, our friendly wellbeing support workers have an abundance of information on hand to help you navigate what can sometimes be the complexity of care. Just contact our response line to find how we can help. 

Tangible Support 

Did you know that as a registered carer, you may be eligible to a grant? The money from this fund can be used to enhance your health and/or wellbeing. For example, one carer used the fund to buy some kids activities and an art therapy book and colouring in pencils. These provided a sense of respite for the mother whilst bringing happiness to her children, who now had some new toys to play with. 

Find out more by clicking here 

Have you applied for your Carer Discount Card? CSWS and local businesses in West Sussex have formed an exciting partnership to offer family and friend carers in the county a range of exclusive offers and discounts. Contact us today to apply. 

Find out more by clicking here

Belonging Social Support 

By attending our support group sessions, you will be in contact with people in similar situations from which you can learn new ways of coping or just be around those who instantly get what you are going through without having to explain. 

Pillar 3:Self-Care

Research has shown that caring can have a significant impact on health, with carers often finding that both their mental and physical health are affected. So, it is vital you take steps to look after yourself and remember, self-care is not being selfish. Self-care is about deliberately doing activities to foster good mental, emotional and physical health. 

Let’s take a look at some of the small actions, with big effects, you can add into your daily routine.

Building Resilience 

Building one’s own resilience can help in coping with external events, such as illness of a loved one or a caring crisis presented to you. There are some daily steps you can do, around your caring role, which will help in building your level of resilience. This will in turn help you to show up at your best, no matter what life throws your way. 

While we understand that time is at a premium, we believe you can factor in these daily habits to help you thrive: 

  • Sleep – try to establish a sleep routine or rest when you can
  • Exercise – perhaps a half an hour walk in the morning before you start the day
  • Meditation – spending 10 minutes a day doing guided mediation. 
  • Gratitude – keep a gratitude journal making a note of all those good little things which are all too easily forgotten
  • Self-compassion – be kind to yourself, for example, try not to be hard on yourself if you don’t do everything on this list. Habits take time to form. 
  • Connection – stay connected with friends and family. Make that phone call you’ve been meaning to make now. 

Keep Physically Active 

We are not suggesting you run the next London Marathon (unless you fancy taking on a monumental challenge!). We are suggesting more gentle activities such as going for a short walk in your local area, do you live near a park?  Doing some yoga or Pilates using a book or YouTube tutorials. These are free of charge and will keep you active. For the more adventurous, perhaps the next Marathon is something to aim for…

Managing Your Mental Health 

Have you tried keeping a mood diary? This mindful activity will help track what makes you feel better or in fact worse. Once you can see a pattern emerge, you can take steps to avoid or prepare for situations which cause feelings of anxiety. Or, on the plus side, do more of what makes you happy. 

Eating a Healthy Diet 

It is important you are topped up with nourishment. It’s about getting your 5-a-day, a quick tip is to mix in other root vegetables in with your mashed potato. There are so many different dietary options, such as pescatarians, vegetarians or Paleo. So we could not possibly cover all the options, so the best over arching action is to remain well hydrated through water intake, have an intake of essential fatty acids, protein, fat and water soluble vitamins and essential minerals. Researching some recipes to suit your dietary preferences is a great inspiration to try different foods.

Staying Connected 

While this is a whole topic covered by itself, this just reiterates the importance of staying connected. Whether that is with friends or family or joining a local online book club, it is just about having that sense of feeling connected. This will help guard against feelings of isolation and by talking to others, reduce feelings of anxiety. So, go on, send that text or make that call. 

Respite – taking time away from your caring role 

Everyone in a caring role needs to take time for themselves and it is not something to feel guilty about. Whether that time out is to join one of our carer groups or make use of the respite break services, we strongly encourage you to make time for yourself. 

Find out more about the respite options available to you by clicking here 

The Importance of Play 

What with all that is going on in the world right now, it is all too easy to forget about including ‘fun’ into our daily lives. So, the next time you feel like just zoning out on your phone or watching TV, why not suggest getting out a board game, starting an impromptu game of charades or, if you live alone, start an online quiz with friends. Play is not just for children, it is beneficial for people of all ages. So, start a fun revolution next time instead of grabbing for the TV remote, see what happens.

How can we best help you?

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