Carer’s Health & Wellbeing

Caring for family and friends is a natural part of all our lives, but we understand that the pressure of looking after someone else can be emotionally and physically demanding and often carer’s put the needs of the person they look after before their own.

Carers will often experience mental ill health as a result of caring due to the emotional impacts and attachment to their cared for, combined with exhaustion and having to do the everyday things such as keeping a house or working as well as the caring role.

The physical health of the carer is often neglected due to lack of time or exhaustion resulting in a weakened immune system and carer’s often feel ‘under the weather’.

Southend Carers Hub focuses on helping you improve your own abilities to maintain good physical and mental health.

The GP is often a recommended first visit. It is a good idea to talk to your GP about how you are feeling, make sure they are aware that you are a carer and put this information on your records. They will be able help you find the right sort of support. This may be counselling but it could be another sort of therapy or treatment.

Building Resilience

The emotional ups and downs of being a carer are ongoing.  Southend Carers counselling service can give support through all the stresses associated with the caring role including;

  • Stress and anxiety – can manifest in many ways, untreated it can lead to panic attacks or develop into depression. Carers should always talk to someone who is willing to listen, whether it is a neighbour or friend initially. Southend Carers provide free therapy options for carers and experienced support officers provide practical advice and support.
  • Co-dependency – Many carers become enmeshed in the life of their cared for to such a degree that they lose a sense of identity and forget to look after themselves. This can, often through well-meaning intent, disable the carer from rehabilitation. Talking things through with friends, your GP, and counselling can help you explore other healthier options of looking after someone.
  • Time management – Prioritising is a skill that can help with maintaining a sense of order and give the carer some structure. It can help to discuss this in counselling or carers groups to look at time saving ideas.
  • Family dynamics – Becoming a carer will inevitably shift family dynamics in some way or another. Carers can often feel let down by lack of support. Carers groups are a way of obtaining input from others with a fresh perspective, and may help the carer to feel less isolated.
  • Guilt – Many carers feel guilty at continuing to have fun or socialise if their cared for is ill. Free time to have a break and connect with the world external to the caring role is important. This can help maintain a sense of identity and lessen resentment building up.  Could family or friends help out? Southend Carers can support you in many ways including respite breaks.
  • Resentment – can occur if the carer takes on too much of the caring role, above and beyond what is expected of them. This can lead to martyrdom which is unhealthy, unfair on the cared for and ultimately spirals into a toxic relationship. This can be explored in counselling sessions or amongst other carers at groups where it may help to feel that you are not the only one going through this crisis
  • Loss Carers experience loss in a variety of ways often starting with the loss of the relationship that they previously had with the cared for. They may lose a sense of self-worth, physical fitness, their job, finances, their patience, and even lose contact with family and friends. Southend Carers can help you cope with the emotional implications of these losses and look at some practical solutions.
  • Control – Carers can feel they have to battle with the Health Service, Social Care, local authorities or the GP just to get a diagnosis, let alone the process that follows. This may seem very daunting at first. Information is the key here try and obtain as much knowledge as you can through a variety of sources including Southend Carers, an advocacy service or advisory service.
  • Acceptance – It can be a difficult journey to arrive at accepting the changed circumstances following the initial diagnosis, some carers reporting that it has taken them up to two years. Through talking therapy or with groups of carers this can be worked through at a suitable pace for the carer. If you can talk to family and friends throughout this process this may help the carer draw on inner strengths and reduce a sense of isolation.

 

Mental Health – Support

Emotional support is available from our Award Winning Carers Counselling Service.

We focus on what you can do for yourself and work to help you maintain and improve your abilities.  Contact Southend Carers to access any of the following support;

  • One to one contact – this can be a one off chat or one to one counselling with a trained counsellor where you will be listened to in confidence over a period of weeks.
  • Telephone Support – offering emotional support to carers over the phone.
  • Carers Information groups – guest speakers talk to carers on a variety of subjects ranging from physical and mental health conditions to carers concerns such as getting breaks from caring and planning ahead. 
  • Connecting Carers – so no-one has to care alone –support groups enable you to meet other carers in a relaxed environment. You become part of a community of Carers who can support you through the ups and downs of looking after someone, the majority of our Carers who join these groups report less isolation.
  • Signposting – At Southend Carers we signpost on to other organisations including continuing therapy options for carers when their counselling has come to an end. We can also signpost carers to other organisations within the Carers Hub so that carers can come in contact with familiar faces and have the chance to form friendships and therefore reduce isolation.
  • Emotional Support for End of Life – These carers are contacted with an initial phone call to offer a listening ear to let them know that someone is willing to be with them at the end of the phone to listen to them on this difficult transition.  Former carers (up to a year after death of their cared for) are also contacted.

Other agencies:

We are in contact with other agencies/helplines and are assisted by organisations such as the Samaritans and Citizens Advice.

Samaritans – Out of Hours Listening Service

If you need to talk to someone during the period our service is closed contact the ‘Out of Hours Listening Service’ in confidence. Supported by the Samaritans who work closely with us Freephone 116 123 – it is open 24 hours a day all year round.
You can also access support by email jo@samaritans.org

Citizens Advice Southend – We work closely with Citizens Advice allowing carers to gain faster access to informed advice.

Southend Borough Council Social Services Emergency Duty Team (out of hours) contact tel. no.  0345 606 1212 (The Out of Hours Service is provided by Essex County Council)

Physical Health – Support

The physical health of the carer is often neglected due to lack of time or exhaustion resulting in a weakened immune system and carers often feel ‘under the weather’.  Carers can ask for an annual health check from their GP which can lower your risk in developing a serious illness.

Benefits of physical activity:

  • Better mobility; joints, tendons and ligaments will be more flexible
  • Helps carers to maintain a healthy weight by increasing your metabolism (the rate we burn calories)
  • Improved general mental wellbeing and potential to improve feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • Increased energy and endurance level enabling carers to manage their caring role with greater ease

Support groups

The Southend Carers Hub provide peer support groups such as walking groups and seated exercise focussing on improving physical fitness as well as breaking isolation for carers.

Taster Sessions for activities such as; Bollywood dancing, Tai Chi and Hula Hooping are also organised from time to time by Southend Carers.

Family Carers

  • Southend Carers family project encourages families who care for children with disabilities to enjoy the outdoors together.
  • It provides an opportunity to meet other families, make new friendships and build support networks.
  • Activities include; family picnics, cycling, trampolining, adventure parks, splash parks and the disability sports event at RAF Mildenhall.

Young Carers

  • Southend Carers ‘Better Lives’ project organises a variety of groups for young carers aged 5 – 17.
  • Activities include taster sessions for karate and tai chi and outdoor groups e.g. the wild beach club and forest skills at Belfair’s woods.

Respite service

Southend Carers Hub offers an occasional free respite break, in partnership with SPDNS Nurse Care CIC. SPDNS Nurse Care CIC is a reliable high quality local home care provider with over 35 years’ experience of care at home.  The details of the ad hoc respite are;

  • This service is provided to adult carer’s, looking after adults aged 18+, to enable them to attend their own appointments and take part in activities they enjoy.
  • Breaks are for a minimum of 2 hours and are occasional breaks.
  • The carer should contact Southend Carers 01702 393933 or email info@southendcarers.co.uk stating the date, start time and end time they require the respite care service. Please give as much notice as you can.
  • This ad hoc respite service is not available overnight.
  • Regular weekly breaks are requested from the local authority following a carer’s assessment or a combined assessment.
  • Southend Carer’s may work with the social care team to provide a weekly break until the carer’s assessment support plan is implemented.
  • This respite has also occasionally been provided weekly for a fixed term of a few weeks to cover health treatment such as radiotherapy, physiotherapy and dental treatment.

Useful organisations;

Active Life  01702 567327

Active Southend  getactive@southend.gov.uk

Everyone Health  0300 005 0096

Sport for Confidence  0333 005 0095

Respite- Carers’ breaks

It is important to recognise that carers need to have a break from their caring role.  Finding time to have a break is vital to maintain your own health and wellbeing and to maintain good relationships with the person you care for, friends and family. Taking a break also means that the person you are looking after may be able to meet someone new and enjoy new conversation.  Carers registered with the Southend Carers Hub can access the following homecare respite services free of charge;

  • Bookable respite breaks
  • End of Life respite
  • Carers Emergency Respite Services

Bookable respite and End of Life respite 

Southend Carers Hub works in partnership with SPDNS homecare to provide bookable respite and End of Life respite.  SPDNS has been established more than 40 years and has a reputation for reliable, high quality care at home.  The service they provide includes;

  • Well trained and knowledgeable care staff
  • Experienced Care Managers
  • Individual face to face assessments, at home, of care needs
  • Care Quality Commission rated SPDNS service GOOD

1. Bookable respite 

An occasional break for the carer is essential, at the same time the person you care for benefits from experienced, professional care and companionship. This service is provided to adult carers, looking after adults aged 18+ who are living in the borough of Southend.

This respite service may be used to help the carer with essential tasks such as attend their own appointments or for an enjoyable break such as to meet up with friends/family or take part in a recreational activity.

  • Breaks are for a minimum of 2 hours
  • Free of charge
  • This bookable respite service is extremely flexible; covering daytime, evenings and weekends but is not available overnight.
  • This respite may be provided weekly for a fixed term of a few weeks to cover a short course of health treatment such as physiotherapy or dental treatment.
  • To book a break, contact Southend Carers 01702 393933 or emailinfo@southendcarers.co.uk stating; date, start time and end time required. Please give at least 4-5 days notice.
  • The first time this service is used a SPDNS care manager will make an assessment visit  before the respite date; providing opportunity to discuss preferences and care needs giving you both ‘peace of mind’.
  • It is important to provide at least 24 hours notice to cancel a booking.  Cancellations outside office hours should be made with SPDNS homecare directly. SPDNS on call tel. no.  07889486770

How can I get a regular weekly break?

The local authority adult social care team may help provide a weekly respite break as a result of a carers assessment or care needs assessment. Southend Carers can guide you through the assessment process. If you are eligible for a regular respite break the local authority can arrange the respite or you can ask the local authority for direct payments and organise the respite break yourself.  More details on direct payments can be found in the section ‘Care Providers and Care Costs’.

2. End of Life respite

Caring for someone with a life limiting condition or terminal illness is extremely difficult for everyone.  Family carers are dealing with their own emotions and responsibilities, and doing all they can for their loved one, and may need advice and information as well as a break from caring.

The Southend Carers Hub advice and respite, which is a free service, can help you in your caring role and ensure that you feel supported and understood, and know where to go if you need help.  It is vitally important that you as a carer take care of yourself and seek help and support.

How can we help?

Reassurance for you that the person you care for will be safe and well looked after.  You can request occasional and regular respite, support could include:

  • Meal preparation
  • Help with giving medication
  • Help with small household tasks
  • Companionship

Carers Emergency Respite Scheme (CERS)

 Southend Carers Hub administrate this service, the emergency homecare will be provided by Ashley Care LLP who are approved providers for home care services to Southend on Sea Borough Council Adult Social Care.

Sometimes carers face an unexpected emergency when they may need replacement care sorted out speedily and efficiently. Registering with the Carers Emergency Respite Service will provide that care and if family or friends are unavailable trained staff from an approved homecare provider will provide care during the emergency.

The service is available to family/informal carers, caring for someone who is a resident in Southend and who would be unable to care for themselves or be unsafe left on their own in the event of an emergency.

Only carers registered with the Carers Emergency Respite Scheme can access this support.

 

Details on how to put this plan in place in case you need it one day. 

  • To register contact Southend Carers Hub telephone no. 01702 393933; email: info@southendcarers.co.uk.
  • This service and the care are provided free of charge
  • Care can be provided for up to 48 hours (or 72 hours over a weekend or bank holiday). This enables someone to stay safely in their own home until the emergency is over or other care arrangements can be made.
  • Once you have registered please advise Southend Carers as soon as possible if your circumstances or contact details change.

Case study

When Sarah moved her parents into live with her, she didn’t realise she would find it difficult to lose her own personal space.  Southend Carers Hub services helped; the small ‘Waves’ group discussing the emotional ups and downs of caring, one to one counselling and the carer’s peer support groups; ‘Walk and Talk’ and yoga, enabled Sarah to develop many coping mechanisms. She made a new friend who also cares for her parents. Together they can see the funny side to some of the challenges and once in a while they take themselves on a well-deserved treat. ‘Because they are worth it’.