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.
you decide to volunteer?
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.
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.
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.
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
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
“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.”
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 →
“Last summer, I had a bit of a wobble. Everything with
Paul’s diagnosis just hit me – I hated the word Alzheimer’s, dementia, I just
didn’t want to hear it. I felt sad with the whole situation, angry, cheated, I
felt like this shouldn’t be happening to us.
“I met with a friend who asked me if I was alright and I just broke down and said ‘no, I’m not.’ My friend suggested I call the Carers’ Centre – I have been registered as a carer for a while, but never needed to use the service. I just hadn’t thought of it.
“I called the centre and spoke to Carers’ Support Officer Lorraine. She was just lovely and so supportive. We talked about how I’d lost my dad earlier in the year and then had my mum staying with us for a couple of months. I’d kept myself so busy, that I hadn’t really grieved for my dad. I was also grieving for Paul too because even though he’s still here, he’s changing.
“I had a few sessions with Lorraine and she said she thought I might benefit from taking part in the Coping with Caring course, which was just great. “
Many carers struggle with putting themselves first. They run around taking care of everybody else — ignoring their own needs.
Having a bit of me-time is vital and the healthiest thing you can do as a carer is to stop and consider what measures you can take to care for yourself.
Carer and holistic therapist Anne-Marie Rose, owner of Rose Holistic Treatments, knows the importance of taking time out and is offering a special discounted rate of £25 ffor reflexology for carer card holders. Haven’t got a carer card? Enquire here!
We popped into her business, located on Avondale Road, Bath, to learn more.
Tell us more about your business! What do you do and where are you based?
“I offer wonderfully
relaxing massage and reflexology sessions to support women and carers in Bath.
The business was set up with the aim of supporting carers by offering low-cost
reflexology treatments and the business took off from there. In the three years
since I started my business I have been shortlisted for a variety of awards for
all my hard work supporting carers and local charities. Rose Holistic
Treatments is based in Newbridge, just a 5-10 minute walk from the Bath Carers’
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 →
‘I nearly didn’t come here today as I had a bit of a wobble,” said Helen, who was making her first visit to the Carer Café at Mardons Social Club in Midsomer Norton.
I knew exactly how she felt, as it was only four weeks ago that I walked into the Bath Carers’ Centre office to take on my new job as Wellbeing Administrator, and today I was leaving the familiarity of the office and making my first outing to meet and chat with carers.
So when Helen announced to the café co-ordinator that she was a newcomer, I thought: “Great! There’s someone like me. We newbies should stick together!”