How to look after yourself whilst caring for someone else

Each day 6,000 people become carers. Looking after a loved one can be physically and emotionally exhausting so it's vital that you get the support you need. Find out how you can make sure you look after yourself.
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Becoming a Mental Health Carer

Some people become carers overnight. When somebody has an accident or is taken ill, they can suddenly be in need of support from those around them. For others it can happen gradually, such as when parents become unable to manage on their own or a partner's health deteriorates.

Not everybody realises that they have become a carer. The gradual development of a mental or physical health condition can see someone's needs build over time, and their loved one slipping into the role of carer without acknowledging the impact it's having on their lives.

Looking after yourself: top tips

  • Take time to be compassionate to yourself.

  • Be honest with the person that you may not know what they are going through but that you care and want to help.

  • Find your local carers support groups – they can be vital in giving you the support you need and helping you speak to people in similar situations. For help finding a support group you can email advice@carersuk.org or call 0808 808 7777 Monday - Friday, 9 am - 6 pm.

  • Make the time to do things that you enjoy, such as walking the dog, joining an evening class or meeting friends.

  • Join the Carers UK online chats - Care for a cuppa. For more information on how to join the Zoom sessions and the dates, visit the Carers UK website

  • Acknowledge that you may not be able to ‘fix’ the person you are caring for but that you are there to help and support them.

  • If you are struggling, talk to your GP and tell them the impact your caring role has on your health. They will be able to offer confidential advice and support. 

Working with Bournemouth University and Dorset Healthcare NHS Trust, Healthwatch Dorset produced a video featuring local people talking about when they first realised that they had become carers and how their lives have changed as a result.

They spoke about the problems they have faced, the effect on their relationships, and some of the things that have helped them cope since becoming carers.

The two videos – Becoming a Mental Health Carer and Being a Mental Health Carer - are available to view on the Bournemouth University YouTube channel.

Need more help? 

There are lots of charities out there to offer advice and support to carers, including: 

Carers UK

Carers Trust

Your GP - Carers UK - Let your GP know. Your GP (General Practitioner) and primary care team can provide you with invaluable support, advice and information. A helpful starting point to getting the support you need as a carer is to let your GP know about your responsibilities.

Carers First Lincolnshire
Contact details:
Tel: 0300 303 1555
Email: hello@carersfirst.org.uk
Website: www.carersfirst.org.uk/lincolnshire
 
County Carers Group - for family carers of people with learning disabilities or associated conditions.
Lincolnshire
Contact details:
Tel: 01476 400318 / 01522 750582
Email: j.gurney@ntlworld.com
 
Every-One
Contact details:
Tel: 01522 811 852
Email: hello@every-one.org.uk
Website: http://www.every-one.org.uk/
 
Lincolnshire County Council information for carers
Contact details:
Tel: 01522 782224
Email: CarersService@lincolnshire.gov.uk
Website: www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/adult-care/carers/

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