Being a carer for someone requires time, patience, compassion and most importantly, organisation. Balancing all of this with your own life can be hard work, so it is important that you seek external help and take care of yourself to enable you to provide the best possible care. Here are some helpful tips and advice when managing such care effectively.

Advice for carers

External support

By getting in touch with your local social services you might be able to request practical help at home, help with taxi fares, counselling to deal with stress and details about local support groups for carers. These local support groups can be a good source of comfort for you as a carer. Having the support of family and friends can help you emotionally to an extent but they may not always be able to give you the empathy you need when understanding the strain of being a carer. Support groups however can do just that as well as providing you with the opportunity to open up and share your experience. There are also online forums to enable you to engage with other carers if getting to support groups is a challenge for you. We do understand that getting to groups can be difficult due to time but there are online options to offer advice and discussions that provide alternative support. Take a break and take care of yourself Don’t forget to take a break and allow time to take care of yourself and your own personal needs. You can’t expect to provide quality care to somebody else if you are not doing the same for yourself. To enable the best possible care, you need to get your rest, exercise, eat well and socialise. All the things that promote health and well-being, you need ensure you are providing a well-balanced combination of these for yourself. A couple of hours per week set aside for your own social needs can really help you to de stress, and be yourself rather than the carer you are most of the time.

Support products

Today there are lots of products and services that help to make life a lot easier for you. Caring for another person can put lots of physical strains on your body as well as emotional, so ensuring that the surroundings and environment is tailored for the needs of both you and the person you are caring for will really help your daily routine and you will rest easy knowing that there are products that will make the home safer. Getting up and down the stairs can be a great challenge in these types of situations, so a stair lift can really save lots of time and energy when going to bed or to the bathroom if upstairs. Also, bathing becomes very difficult for a carer if the bathroom is not suited to your needs. Getting a mobility bathroom installed which has been designed for easy access, for not only independent bathing but for those providing assistance to those who can’t quite manage to bath alone. Here at Mobility plus we have a practical range of wide opening shower doors and floor level access showers with seats, especially designed for those with mobility problems restricting regular shower access. We also provide half height bi-fold door options that allow carers to assist bathing from a distance. Take a look at our walk-in showers and baths range to find the most suitable option for you

Your rights as a carer

If you are a carer for a friend or relative, you have rights. Don’t overlook your own needs as well as those of the person you care for. First and foremost, you should contact your local social services department to arrange a carer’s assessment. You should think about how your caring role affects you and what things could help you to manage better. The assessor will look at the impact your caring role has on your life and whether you are receiving the support you need and are entitled to. You can get more details and information about how to arrange one on carer’s assessments on the Carers Direct website. Caring for someone whilst still working full time is difficult to say the least, but you should be aware that you do have the right to request flexible working hours to help you to manage your time as efficiently as possible for your responsibilities outside of work. You can make a request once each working year, however you should bear in mind that your employer doesn’t have to agree to it. In terms of monetary rights, you are entitled to carers allowance if you are caring for someone for more 35 hours per week and carers credit if you are caring for someone more than 20 hours per week. This helps you to not only care for someone but also to build your entitlement to your state pension. For more details on your monetary rights as a carer you should get in touch with your local authority.