As you hopefully will know, as avid readers of this blog, we help run a 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.
Recently we heard from a carer who was introduced to our service via the Hub and think her story is worth sharing. She captures a lot of the thoughts and feelings that we come across so often when talking to people looking after someone. Read on to hear from Kathryn, a carer from Radstock:
“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,”→
According 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→
Our annual awards ceremony was held in October and once again the event was hosted by the fantastic Ali Vowles of the BBC. It was a chance to recognise our unsung heroes: carers, volunteers, and partners and to look back over what we’ve achieved this year.
The evening was made possible by the generosity of Sirona Care & Health and by our other wonderful sponsors; Bath College, Curo, Gerrard Financial Consulting, Gradwell Communications, Minuteman Press Bath and Way Ahead Care. Continue reading Celebrating Carers 2016 – the results!→
Carers are part of the backbone of our communities and the annual awards night held by the Carers’ Centre is a fabulous opportunity to applaud their selflessness, says Sirona chief executive Janet Rowse.
Sirona Care & Health, which provides specialist community health and adult social care across Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and surrounding area, is the title sponsor of the Celebrating Carers event.
Janet said: “Our staff work day in day out supporting individuals and families but they do not do it alone. They are supported by carers, volunteers and other partners and all of these people working together really makes a difference to the lives of others. Continue reading Carers: the backbone of our communities→
I do a bit of everything: in terms of supporting carers I offer advice over the phone, as well as visiting them at home for longer support planning sessions.
Having been a carer myself, for multiple people, I know how tough it can be, often with no reward.
This understanding enables empathy, whilst being able to discuss the challenging aspects of being a carer: they may not have acknowledged or be struggling with the more complex feelings of guilt, anger or sadness, be it with anyone else or even to themselves. A good example of this is recognising that you can’t ‘fix’ the person you care for, and that’s ok; or coping with the effects of dementia on a loved one: you end up grieving twice. Grief in itself is a whole other ballgame…
I also work with a group of carers delivering training at Bath University. We teach Social Work Students the importance of carers, how to support them and treat them as expert partners. Leading on from this, I have been out in the community for the past couple of years raising awareness of what a carer is and encouraging agencies to refer to the Carers’ Centre. The most people I spoke to was 100, but even speaking to one person is worthwhile as they will tell one person, who will tell two people, and so on.
I also manage a team of people here at the centre. This brings its own challenges, but none have sued me for distress yet so I must be doing something right…
The sun shone on our Bath Centre last Sunday as 55 fantastic walkers completed our 20th Birthday Sponsored Walk through the Two Tunnels. It was amazing to see such a range of people walking, including some singers from the Jenny Peplow choir (who performed a fundraising concert for us just a few weeks ago!) and 9 year old Jack, who was eager to get going right away. After a welcome from Claire and Janine, the walkers set off at 11am, with smiles all round and even a few dogs!
Thanks to the fabulous weather, many of our walkers completed the full 9 mile route, only stopping midway for a pub lunch or a picnic –although Steve was on hand with the minibus for any carers that just wanted to complete the 4.5mile walk. Back at the centre, our walkers were rewarded for their time and effort with cream teas and mocktails, provided by our Chair of Trustees Jill Tremellen.
A few weeks ago, the fabulous Jenny Peplow singers held a fundraising concert in Radstock for the Carers’ Centre. I got to attend as a spectator rather than a staff member, which meant I could relax as the volunteers did all the hard work! I also took my mum along, because all mums like a nice choir. We entered the venue to a sea of volunteers and thankfully, a room packed with eager audience members – some were carers that I recognised from my work at the Carers’ Centre which was lovely to see. Mum and I bought some raffle tickets and headed upstairs for a better view.
Soon, the choir came out, introduced by conductor Jenny Peplow. Dressed in black, the all-female choir looked so impressive, and when they started singing we all knew we were in for a fantastic evening. Covering our favourite pop and musical numbers in stunning three and four part harmonies, every voice of the 44-strong choir added something to the mix. My favourite song was a cover of ‘Jar of Hearts’ by Christina Perry, just because of the anger they managed to express while still sounding beautiful. However my mum started crying at “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’ before they’d even started singing! Continue reading Our Fundraising Concert→
In 2014, the Carers’ Centre was generously donated a garden from the One Show. 18 months on, the garden looks as fresh and vibrant as ever, thanks to our wonderful team of garden volunteers. The garden volunteers meet every Thursday morning to water plants, weed flower beds and ensure the garden looks inviting for carers, staff and professionals visiting the centre.
We’re thrilled to announce that the group is now being led by John Tucker, a gardening guru, who has led many gardening breaks at our Centre. John will guide gardeners through the necessary jobs and provide expert advice on how best to do the work. He has many years of experience as a gardener and deputy manager of Prior Park Garden Centre so he really knows his stuff!
To mark the start of National Carers Week, we at BANES Carers Centre are holding our first ever sponsored walk on Sunday, 5th June. The walk starts at 11am and will take our carers through the mysteries of the Two Tunnels, all the way to the Hope and Anchor in Midford, where our walkers can reward themselves with a pub lunch.
We have 4.5 or 9 mile options so the walkers can pick a route that’s best for them. Walkers can register as individuals or a whole family – our only ask is that they try and raise £50 in sponsorship money, though is just a goal, not a requirement! “Obviously we’d love to raise as much as possible but we also want people to get involved with their community,” says Janine, our Senior Development Manager.