Getting started

Am I a carer?

Most of us will care for someone who is older, disabled or seriously ill at some point in our lives.

If you provide support to a relative, partner, friend or neighbour who could not manage without you, then you are a carer and there is help and support out there for you.

The caring role for some involves giving practical help and/or emotional support now and then, support which may increase gradually over time. For others an accident or sudden serious illness has an instant life changing affect.

This e-handbook includes information relevant to all types of caring role and designed for you to dip into topics as and when they become relevant. A full list of the topics can be found on the left-hand side of each screen. Once selected there is the option; to read all the information by scrolling down the screen or choose from the list at the top of the screen to navigate straight to the details you are looking for.

Family and friends care for each other, it’s only natural, which is why it takes time to accept the term ‘carer’ relates to us.

It often takes more than a year for a person to realise and accept they are a carer and even then they may not know how or where to go to get help.

A carer can be any age; from young child to older adult.

They may live with the person they support or be caring from a distance.

They may be caring for more than one person.

They may have a disability or chronic illness themselves.

Southend Carers Hub services

Southend Carers Hub offers support to carers who live in the Borough of Southend or the person they care for lives in Southend. Professionals can make referrals via our website. To register phone 01702 393933 or see the link below;

Southend Carers adult carers registration form

Southend Carers young carers registration form

The services available from the Southend Carers Hub are;

Advice, Information and guidance

Expert advice, information and guidance on money, social care, health and many other issues.

Emotional support and counselling

A unique service offering a safe, confidential and comfortable setting for carers to talk about their feelings and concerns.

Telephone support service

A pilot project offering emotional support to carers over the phone, during the day and one evening a week. It supports isolated carers who may find it difficult to attend the service in person and gives them a chance to talk confidentially through their concerns and issues around their caring role. Support is also offered to former carers up to a year after the person they cared for has died.

Caring safely support

Regular events focusing on the practical side of staying safe whilst caring, from accident prevention to fraud awareness.

Peer support groups

Activities and events that bring carers together to socialise, pick up new skills and share experiences. See the calendar on the Southend Carers website for further information.

Emergency planning

Helping carers plan for the unexpected so that their loved one is cared for if they are taken ill, involved in an accident or otherwise unable to resume their caring role.

Bookable respite breaks

Respite is replacement care for the person you care for to give you a break from caring. Carers can contact Southend Carers Hub to book an occasional break from caring, for a few hours in the day. This enables carers to attend their own health appointments, social event, activity or an opportunity to have a rest. Replacement care is provided by SPDNS Nursecare CIC a high quality homecare provider with over 35 years’ experience of care at home.

Please give at least 5 days’ notice for your first booking of this service, as an assessment visit will be required. For subsequent bookings at least 3 days’ notice is required. If you need to change or cancel a respite booking please provide at least 24 hours’ notice.

End of life support

High quality, specialised support and respite for carers of those with a life limiting or life threatening condition.

Family carers

Respite services for parents of children with additional needs and their siblings, including family holidays, social events and day trips.  This is a valuable opportunity to have fun together as a family and meet other family carers.

Young carers

Weekly after-school club, monthly fun activities and much more, for carers aged five to 18. This is a chance for young carers to take a break and meet other young people in the same position.

Young Adults

Guidance and support for carers aged 17 to 25 as they make the transition to adult services.

Monthly E-Newsletter

A lively update on carers issues and events. Get your copy emailed to you Sign up here

Carers Roving Reference Group

An opportunity for the carers perspective and voice to be heard and influence the development and commissioning of services.

Practitioners Meetings

Key stakeholders from the statutory, private and voluntary sectors come together to share best practice and discuss future developments of service to carers.

7 top tips for carers – BALANCE

Caring can be challenging and carers sometimes are uncomfortable talking to others around them about their role as a carer. Here are 7 Top Tips to balance caring for your ‘loved one’ and looking after yourself at the same time;

B reaks – take some time for yourself

Building a support network around you to share some of the care and responsibility is important; friends and family, community groups, Southend Carers respite services, community health and social care teams can help you get the breaks you need.

A dvice – remember you are not on your own

Don’t try to do everything on your own. Find the advice, financial, practical and emotional support you’re entitled to.

L ook ahead – prepare for the future, don’t leave it

Planning ahead is important this includes contingency plans to cover emergencies and discussing options for when care needs increase and for end of life. They may not be easy conversations to have but once you have plans in place it can help you live with peace of mind and avoid a time when important decisions have to be made in a rush and under pressure.

A ctive – look after yourself

Carers should not neglect their own health. This includes time to eat properly, exercise, attend health appointments, manage other responsibilities and time to relax and get enough sleep. Carers need to avoid isolation; keep in touch with friends, the community around you and enjoy the things that make you happy.

N otes – prioritise and make life simpler

Write shopping lists, schedules for the day, plan meals, keep important information in one place. Being organised can help make the best use of the time you have and can help you prioritise. Unrealistic expectations can lead to feelings of guilt or failure, so take some time to think about what is important to you, what could be delegated to someone else and what can be put on the back burner.

C are Needs – be prepared to accept help

List the things you do to help the person you care for. What is required each day? Identify the things you can do and what ‘chores’ you need help with. Be prepared to accept help, so you still have some time and energy to share ‘quality time’ with your ‘loved one’, talking and enjoying similar interests.

E motional Support- be kind to yourself it’s ok to have a bad day

Consider how to strengthen and maintain the positive parts of your relationships. Meeting with other carers can help; sharing tips and having a laugh even in the midst of a difficult situation.

Try to find something to be grateful for in every situation; grateful for things in the past and for those small achievements in the present. Tiredness and stress can lead to negative feelings of guilt, frustration and resentment. Acknowledge how you feel, share your feelings with someone you trust. Stay in touch with friends and family. Counselling can provide the emotional support you need along the caring journey.

Case study

Kate walked her 5-yearold to his primary school and carried on to work as usual. That afternoon she had a life threatening stroke and spent several weeks in intensive care. Kate’s husband and son are doing a great job as carers. Kate determined and positive, is making amazing progress.

Case study

Joy and Tom have been married 50 years. They are becoming frail and less mobile but still live independently, in their own home. Their daughter Jean works full time. She visits once a week; she gets the shopping, takes them to their GP appointments, picks up prescriptions and does odd jobs.

Case study

Emma is worried her daughter may have an eating disorder. She has gone to the GP for advice but is feeling the strain of caring for her daughter and also juggling work and other family commitments.