Carer Conversations Session 4: Maggie

Maggie’s husband Al was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The most difficult thing for her was the fact that he knew and recognised most other people… but not her. She discusses the impact on their relationship, her wellbeing and how she managed while she was caring for Al.

“One day we were sat having our dinner and he looked at me and said, you are my wife, aren’t you? And I laughed and said of course I am! I still didn’t grasp that he was really asking, that he really didn’t know me.”

Click here to listen to part 1.

Click here to listen to part 2.

Carers’ Centre Volunteer Cafe – An audience with Television Writer Ray Brooking

A new initiative at the Carers’ Centre is the Volunteer Cafe, where volunteers have the chance to meet and chat over cake and coffee and hear from a program of local speakers.

To get the ball rolling, the Carers’ Centre invited award-winning television screenwriter and Clevedon resident Ray Brooking to give a talk about his 24 year career working on some of the biggest shows in popular drama.

As well as writing for The Bill, Casualty and EastEnders, Ray has also been on the writing team of WPC 56 and been nominated for an RTS award for BBC1s “Doctors” for which he has written over a hundred episodes.

Initially inspired by his love of comic books, Ray talked about his childhood watching shows such as “Z Cars” and “Juliet Bravo”, and the excitement of seeing his first episode of “The Bill” screened in 1995.

He also explained the pleasures and frustrations of working with limited time, sets and actors and the ingenuity required to weave his own plots into pre-existing formats.

“It’s the plotting I love, ” he said, “taking a simple idea and developing it to its full potential, there’s nothing like it.”

Ray’s next episode of “Doctors”,  “Empty Arms” will be screened at 1.45pm on BBC1 on Wednesday 30th October 2019

Carer Conversations Session 3: Dee

Dee cares for her grandmother, who has dementia, as well as her son who suffered a brain injury following an accident. Here she talks about the differences in her caring roles and how she manages her family life — generally with a sense of humour.

“I think humour is the best way to cope with most things… you’ve got to laugh otherwise you might cry.”

Click here to hear Dee’s Carer Conversation.

Carer Conversations Session 2: Immie & Bassie

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

September means back to school and we’re thinking about the young carers who maybe didn’t get so much of a break over the summer as their peers. Young carers can face a very challenging time at home with ill, disabled or frail relatives, struggling with sleep, managing homework, or keeping up with friends.

In this Carer Conversations session, two young people share their powerful stories. Bassie tells of the confidence he’s gained by getting involved with his local young carers service. And Immie shares her experience of being a young carer in school and the heartbreaking challenges she faced. Click the links below to listen.

“I couldn’t physically get her up from the floor. She had a concussion… And no one stopped to help.”

Bassie talks about gaining confidence

Immie shares her young carer experience

Meet Volunteer Carmen

Carmen is a volunteer at the Carers’ Centre in Bath and North East Somerset. She has recently completed her A Levels and is now studying Liberal Arts & Sciences with a major in Psychology to degree level.

Why did you decide to volunteer?

There were multiple factors and inspirations about how my life could be improved if I did things for other people. I realised that being of service to others actually makes you feel better. It’s certainly helped me recover from an illness and you improve your life, become a better person and can let go of a frightened way of thinking. It’s also helped me grow and develop and I think become a better version of myself.

Continue reading Meet Volunteer Carmen

Carer Conversations Session 1: Jayne Part 2

Last week we heard from Jayne about the challenges she faced caring for her mum, who has dementia. She said she felt like their roles had reversed and she had becoming the ‘nagging mother’, asking her mum to tidy up or cut her nails. Her friend Allie helped her by coming in and cleaning the house so her mum still felt like she had her independence.

Listen in to the second half of the conversation where Jayne talks about coping with emotional fallout.

Jayne & Allie Part 3
Jayne, Allie & Carmen (Part 4)

Carer Conversations Session 1: Jayne

Listen in to a conversation between Jayne, who cares for her mum, and her friend Allie. Jayne talks about the struggles of looking after her mum, who has been diagnosed with Dementia.

Jayne’s mother won’t let her clean the house.

“It came to a head at Christmas when I pulled back [mum’s] bed and it was brown. I knew I couldn’t let it go on any longer,”

Her friend, Allie, offers to help.

Jayne & Allie Part 1
Jayne & Allie Part 2

Come back next week for more Carer Conversations.

Getting (Ki)Activ

By Leanna Wall

It is not news that having a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of us getting ill or contracting heart problems or diseases such as type II diabetes. Personally though, I have always struggled with exercise since leaving school and not having to do it as part of a P.E lesson. When it comes to fitness, I need support from others. If I don’t have someone who wants to get fit with me, it isn’t a priority I try to fit in.

Cue KiActiv…

KiActiv was introduced to me when I joined the Carers’ Centre. It is a 12 week programme designed to get individuals increasing their physical activity levels. It combines motivation via a trained mentor and digital technology, using an activity tracker (like a Fitbit) and an accessible online profile which is easy to understand. It’s much more than just counting steps, focusing on all the things that contribute to physical activity and therefore, a healthy lifestyle.

Continue reading Getting (Ki)Activ

Getting Carers Connected with New Support Line

This Carers Week we’re launching a new phone system that is staffed from 8:15 to 12noon on weekdays by our specialist carer support officers. You can call free on 0800 0388 885 to get confidential advice, support and information about caring on this dedicated Support Line.

Our Chief Executive David Trumper says that looking after someone can leave you with lots of questions.  

“Navigating the health and social care system, juggling work and finances, balancing caring and other family responsibilities, as well as planning for the future is very challenging.”

“Sometimes it’s good to talk to someone who understands and can help point you in the right direction and connect you with others going through the same thing. Our free and confidential Support Line, staffed by experienced and friendly Support Officers, is here to help you feel in control of your caring role.”

Continue reading Getting Carers Connected with New Support Line

“Before I met your volunteer, I wouldn’t have considered myself a carer”

Some Carer Hub cakes made for a special event.

The Carers’ Centre is involved with the Carer Hub information point at the Bath Royal United Hospital. We do this in conjunction with Carers Support Wiltshire, Friends of the RUH and the RUH NHS Trust.

We heard from a carer who was introduced to our service via the Hub. She captures a lot of the thoughts and feelings that we come across so often when talking to people looking after someone. In Kathryn’s words: 

“I’ve been caring for my mum for 5 ½ years now, since my father passed away.   She’s 91 years old and has been in and out of hospital on and off, for around 5 months now, it’s been very stressful.  She is now back at home.  I worry so much about her and feel that I never do enough and that I should be doing more.  She lives independently, and wants to remains so, but fortunately lives within a 30 second walk from my house.  I feel guilty about having time away from her, but luckily I have a very supportive husband who is also very kind and caring to mum, having cared for his parents for many years.

“I was visiting mum in the RUH, Midford Ward, when approached by a Carer Hub volunteer.  She asked which area I lived in and handed me a BANES Carers information leaflet.  Up until that point I had been unaware of the organisation.  I read the leaflet and realised that I could benefit from the wonderful things that were offered, and if other carers could do these things then so could I!  Continue reading “Before I met your volunteer, I wouldn’t have considered myself a carer”