Category Archives: Information & Advice

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

Lost in (Digital) Space…

By Leanna Wall, our new tech navigator

In this day and age, it seems impossible to escape the fact that almost every aspect of life has some form of digital connection; connecting with friends and family via social media, banking, paying bills, shopping, you can even order a taxi at the click of a button. There is virtually nothing that you would normally do day-to-day that you can’t do online.

Great if you know how to use it… daunting if you don’t.

With companies spending so much time and money on developing digital technology, it is sad to think that its’ potential users may feel they are being left behind, with very little or no knowledge of how to use what is available to them, and no one to show them how.

Thankfully, the Carers’ Centre have recognised that there is a real need for support around all things digital. And that’s where I come in! Continue reading Lost in (Digital) Space…

Carers Rights Day 2018

Next Friday, the 30th of November, is Carers Rights Day. This is a national awareness day to help make carers aware of their rights and entitlements – for things like benefits, flexibility from employers, supported housing and lots more.

It’s a special day for the Carers’ Centre as well as we are hosting our AGM and our first Caring Community Awards. These awards will recognise and celebrate people, places and organisations in our community that are taking carer awareness seriously and making carers’ lives easier. Thanks to our amazing sponsors Bluebird Care, Curo, Gerrard Financial Consulting, Minuteman Press and Mogers Drewett who have made the event possible.

We’re looking forward to sharing these stories on Carers’ Rights Day to make sure that we help foster a more carer-friendly community. This is one of our key organisational goals. If you’d like to come along to the awards let us know by RSVP-ing here (all the details at the link).

If you’re a carer and would like more information on your rights and entitlements, check out this useful guide by Carers’ UK – it tells you all about your rights in work, the importance of taking a break, and lots more practical information and advice.  (The linked guide is for carers in England, but you can find more resources and guides for Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland here)

Here’s a sample from the guide:

 

There’s lots more useful information like this at the link provided. If you have a more specific question about your caring role or about local services, you can call us on 0800 0388 885 and speak to Sue, our information and advice officer. Sue has a wealth of information to help local carers in Bath and North East Somerset.

Visit our website  for more information about our work or to sign up as a carer with us. 

Every Drop Counts: An Introduction to Wellbeing for Carers

By Grace Moorton
Carers Support Officer

What is wellbeing?

Wellbeing relates to how we feel in ourselves and it is different for everyone. If we feel satisfied that our lives are going well, we have a sense of purpose, feel in control, and are happy with our health (both physical and mental); then we might say we have a good level of wellbeing.

Keeping a high level of wellbeing can be hard when we are caring because of all the extra challenges thrown our way. Imagine a glass being filled with water. The water represents all the stressful things that can negatively affect our wellbeing, like finances or work.

As a carer, our glass may already be very full and it only takes one small drop of water for it to overflow. If our glass overflows then we may feel unable to cope and this can negatively affect our physical and mental health.

Small steps can make a big difference

We cannot always control the daily hassles that we face, but we can control things that may help to improve our wellbeing. Just as one more drop in our glass can cause it to overflow, one small action could help to keep things under control: making the difference between coping and not coping.

If you are looking for ideas, there has been recent research into actions we can take, such as the “The Five Ways to Wellbeing” (New
Economics Foundation). This suggests five key steps to improve our wellbeing with examples for each. Click the link for more information.

The first step

No one has more expertise in ways to improve our wellbeing than ourselves. We know what we like and what we don’t like, what works for us and what doesn’t. We can start with a very small
step: by simply asking ourselves “what makes me
feel good?”

For example, you could –
• Enjoy a nice cup of tea
• Listen to your favourite piece of music
• Go outside for five minutes of fresh air

Making a list of all these things is a great way to remind ourselves of the small steps we can take to improve our wellbeing, and to ensure that we make time for this.

Of course, there may be times when we feel we cannot cope and our glass seems to overflow whatever we do. It is at these times that we might need to ask for extra help, and this is OK. In fact, asking for help is a great step in itself when looking after our own wellbeing.

Whether we are making small steps or big steps, we can take control of our own wellbeing, and every drop counts.

Why You Should Get Your Flu Vaccine This Winter

As a carer for someone else, it can be easy to overlook your own health.  Flu can knock even the healthiest people off their feet for a couple of weeks, making it impossible for a carer to look after the person in their care. This is why the NHS offers a free flu vaccination for those either in receipt of a carer’s allowance and/or look after someone who is elderly, disabled, or somebody who lives with a serious long term condition who couldn’t manage without their help.

It’s not just about protecting you as a carer from getting flu, but also preventing you from passing the virus onto the vulnerable person you care for.

Flu is a highly infectious disease which is easily spread from one person to another. Getting flu when you already have a long-term condition can lead to serious complications, and it can even be a killer.

For those who already have a long term health condition, are pregnant or are over 65, it can be even more dangerous as your body will struggle more to fight off the illness and you are more at risk of complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia. Children are also more at risk.

There are a lot of myths about flu that have circulated over the years. Many people worry that the vaccine can give you the flu. Please be assured that this isn’t possible as there is no live influenza virus in the vaccine.

Continue reading Why You Should Get Your Flu Vaccine This Winter

2 Ways to Improve Your Wellbeing this Autumn

by Lindsey Clay 

Update 18th September 2018: 

Due to demand we will now be offering an evening yoga and mindfulness 6 week  course, venues and dates the same but with a 6.00pm—7.30 pm time slot.

We are coming to the end of our lovely sunny weather and heading into the beautiful and colourful autumn season. Changes may be happening in our own lives, be it children going back to school, changes in jobs or changes in our own health and wellbeing or that of those we love.

Here at the Carer’s Centre we are always working to help improve the wellbeing of carers within our community through our services. Read on to find out what we’ve got going on…

1. Try our new course of gentle yoga and relaxation

A new 6 week  gentle yoga course on Monday afternoons 1:30pm to 3pm is starting on the 8th October at our Centre in Bath. This is a trial project, so depending on interest from carers we may be able to offer this in other locations around BaNES.

Yoga mats provided (which you can then take home at the end of the course if you wish to help you continue your practice at home).

The course will be lead by Jules Allen who has written a little note about herself below.

I am a Yoga, Relaxation and Mindfulness Teacher, and I work with various organisations across Bath and Bristol. I specialise in teaching yoga, relaxation and mindfulness to people who may be beginners, people who may have health and mobility issues as well as people who have regular wellbeing practices.

Take time to rest and a moment to breathe, stretch & move, meet new people and make new friends as well as everyday ideas, tools and tips for bringing more well-being into their lives.

Having been a young carer, an adult carer and also living with Rheumatoid Arthritis I practice various yoga and relaxation exercises every day and really have valued the overall effect that yoga, relaxation and mindfulness has had for me and with the people I have worked with.

Continue reading 2 Ways to Improve Your Wellbeing this Autumn

Alzheimer’s Awareness Month: Rosie’s Story

September is World Alzheimer’s Month, an international campaign every September to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia.

Here’s Rosie’s story, who cared for her husband Den who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

“I found the Carers’ Centre about six years ago –I was referred by my GP. I was caring 24/7 for my husband Den, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and on top of that I had a very difficult full-time job. There was a week when I had come down with a cold – just a cold – and it was just the absolute end of the tether for me. I was exhausted.  I didn’t know what to do with Den or how to manage being unwell for a few days. I think that was the point for me when I thought I needed to get some support.

“The first thing the Carers’ Centre did for me was to send me to Ammerdown, a wellness centre, for a 24 hour respite. It was just incredible. I had a bath. I went for a walk. It sounds silly but when you’re caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, telling them you’re going up to have a bath doesn’t mean anything. It’s just not possible. Continue reading Alzheimer’s Awareness Month: Rosie’s Story

Living Well with Dementia

Ruth Maurice_edAccording to the Alzheimer’s Society, about two thirds of people living with dementia in the UK are living at home – usually with the support of a relative or friend who is their carer.

Looking after someone with dementia – the umbrella term for degenerative brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s – can be incredibly upsetting, isolating and painful. But there is help, support and understanding available that can make things a little easier to cope with.

Founder of Singing for the Brain, Chreanne Montgomery-Smith, said “people hear and read so much about dementia in terms of a decline and the progression of symptoms – that is by far the overwhelming narrative – but people with dementia show us every day that it is possible to live well and to have a progression of hope.”

Ruth Holbrook, who looks after her husband Maurice (both pictured above) has been involved with the Carers’ Centre and other local services since Maurice’s diagnosis. Because Ruth had worked in health and social care, she knew what support was available. Continue reading Living Well with Dementia

Advice Column: Carers Allowance

Q: I applied for Carer’s Allowance a few weeks ago but I’ve just received a letter which says I can’t get this as I receive a state pension. Is this correct? Can I appeal this decision?

There are a few criteria you need to meet in order to be eligible for Carer’s Allowance but the basics are:

• you need to be caring for someone for at least 35 hours a week and
• the person you’re caring for must be receiving one of the following three benefits:

1. Personal Independence Payment
2. Attendance Allowance
3. Disability Living Allowance (care component must be at the middle or higher rate)

The current rate for Carer’s Allowance is £62.70 a week, but how much you receive can be affected by other benefits and/or earnings you have. Continue reading Advice Column: Carers Allowance

Day In The Life Of… A Carer Hub Volunteer

Story By Andy Graham

Kevin
Carer Hub Volunteer Kevin

It’s one of the ironies of life that if you ask someone if they know an unpaid carer, they’ll often say no. Even when they’re sat next to the person they look after.

That’s the situation that sometimes faces Carer Hub volunteer Kevin O’Callaghan, who helps support carers at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. People rarely want to sing their own praises, he finds, or ask for help.

But life is full of surprises and when I go to visit Kevin in the hospital atrium, we are immediately met by a couple from Wiltshire. The husband is looking after his wife and his mother and, though in good humour, seems tired and in need of somewhere to turn.

Making a referral to his local carers centre is easily done, but it’s not always the case. Kevin has found that some people can be defensive, especially if they think you want money. Luckily, with his 34 years in sales and marketing at BT, Kevin is quickly able to diffuse the issue.

Continue reading Day In The Life Of… A Carer Hub Volunteer