It probably isn’t as well a known fact as it should be but there are approximately 77,000 people providing unpaid care for others in Suffolk, and over a quarter of these carers provide over 50 hours or more of care per week. In the UK we have 6.5 million people who are carers, supporting a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill. In another report over 80% of carers said they never expected to be a carer.
Caring for someone can put that Individual under high amounts of pressure which can lead to heightened levels of stress which can be a triggering factor for a decline in mental health. Whether caring around the clock, for a few hours a week, or in our own home, caring can have huge effects on us. Becoming a carer can be a very frightening experience and can cause feelings of loneliness, despair, and unmanageable levels responsibility. Many of us don’t even realise that we fit that bracket of ‘being a carer’; but actually if you look after a partner, relative or friend who Is disabled or ill due to physical or mental health, you are a carer.
It is therefore vital that we recognise the pressures that come along with being a carer and what we can do to help ourselves in that situation. If ever you are feeling overwhelmed by caring for someone and need extra support your GP will be able to offer support and advice.
Here’s what we suggest:
Sleep and eat well! Being a carer can be extremely tiring both physically and emotionally so it is important that you try and get a good amount of sleep and keep your body hydrated and fed. Although you may find it hard to make the time for this, it’s very important and can help you In the long-term!
Always ask for help if you are struggling! No one has to go through caring for someone alone; it’s important to recognise that not one person can always provide the amount of care that is required.
Respite care! This provides support for your loved one whilst giving you a break from caring.
Find time for yourself! Having a bit of time to yourself can be very helpful and relaxing, allowing you a break whilst doing something you enjoy.
There are many organisations out there which provide advice and guidance for carers, here are a select few we found: