This week, Megan from No More Grapes has provided some simple, yet important, advice for carers – those of you who are looking after someone whilst they go through an illness or recover from an accident.
It can happen suddenly, a family member becomes involved in an accident or is diagnosed with a serious illness, or a baby is born with a disability. Whatever it is, being a carer and all that that entails is a big adjustment to make in life.
Carers often go unseen in the community, even though their work is vital. They can become isolated, as well as physically and mentally exhausted. The support a carer gets from community, family and friends is vital, and can make all the difference to the type of care they give their loved one.
If you have a friend or a family member who is a carer, here’s some ways in which you can provide invaluable support.
Sometimes those in a caring role can lose touch with other family members or friends who may not understand what the carer is going through in their day to day life. It’s really important to be patient with the carer and non-judgemental. Reach out when you can, so they know you are there for them, by offering practical help or a sympathetic ear. Even if they don’t accept your initial offer, don’t give up. Sometimes it’s hard to accept help or offload worries on to others.
Find help in the community
A carer’s job often comes with little financial support, no holidays and no recognition, so it’s important that carers know they don’t have to go it alone. Being a part of a supportive community will help them be amongst others who understand the challenges they face and the grief they feel as a carer. They can join forums such as Carers UK or encourage them to visit a local carers organisation to find out what help is out there.
Someone who is seriously ill or disabled needs coordinated care in terms of medical, social, practical and financial needs. There are platforms such as No More Grapes where carers can get help from family and friends, to share in the important things and help lighten the load. You can also link up with other carers on the platform to share in conversation and insights.
Getting the right advice and help
Point carers to online tools such as Upfront and Carers Trust where they can navigate the many different benefits and entitlements that are available to them. By answering a few simple questions or downloading a guide, a carer can get the exact information they need.
Setting time aside for tea
Finally, remind your friend or family member that they need to take time out for themselves. Invite them to the cinema, send them a gift voucher for a remedial massage or go for a walk and a cup of tea. These amazing people need love and support. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup!
No More Grapes is an online resource allowing people who are in need of practical help resulting from illness or accident, to create a safe space in which to share their needs and updates with their private circle of friends and family.