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,”→
Loneliness is a growing problem in the UK, with more and more elderly people facing daily isolation. AgeUK reports that more than 2 million people aged over-75 live alone and over 1 million elderly people go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. For carers, this isolation can be even worse – the Carers’ Trust say that 83% of carers feel lonely or isolated because of their caring role. The survey also found that 55% of carers felt that they were unable to get out of the house because of their caring responsibilities, while 45% can’t afford to take part in social activities.
Caring for someone day in, day out can be exhausting and emotionally draining. With few support networks for carers around and a lack of people who can empathise, carers often feel they can’t speak to anyone about their problems. We at the Carers’ Centre want to help. That’s why we’re launching our new telephone befriending programme, which should be in full swing by the end of the month.
The telephone befriending service will enable volunteers to speak to carers on the phone every few weeks to see how they’re doing. Andy Graham, our volunteering co-ordinator and lead on the project, has been training our volunteers in telephone befriending. They will start this work in the coming weeks, to the delight of many carers. “Befriending has been shown to be a very helpful, very simple solution to ongoing isolation and loneliness”, Andy says. Many of the befrienders are carers themselves, which we’re hoping will bring a more personal touch to the service. We can’t wait for this project underway and see how many carers we can help.
If you’d like to be a volunteer befriender and help a carer in need, please call the Carers’ Centre on 01761 431388.
Some people may start the festive season as soon as September sets in, but many only get into the Christmas spirit once the new John Lewis ad has been released.
A week ago, the big day arrived.
The advert centres on a little girl who spots the man on the moon through her telescope. She sees that he is alone and wants to do something for him for Christmas, so she sends him a present: a telescope so that he can see earth, and most importantly the girl who has been thinking of him this whole time.
John Lewis have said that the ad aims to highlight the hardship of one million elderly people who go for more than a month without talking to a friend, relative or neighbour.
These elderly people do face extreme loneliness, and for carers the daily struggle can be even worse. Although they may communicate with the person they look after, 83% of carers say they feel isolated due to their caring role. The ad reminds people to “show someone they’re loved” at Christmas, encouraging us to remember those who won’t be surrounded by friends and family.
Though this man on the moon is not a carer, he faces incredible isolation, something the 6.5 million carers in the UK face every day. So we ask you; the next time you see the John Lewis ad, think of the carers who may feel like they are alone on the moon.
News and views from Bath North East Somerset Carers Centre