Caring with Others
Caring can put a strain on your relationships. With so much to do, it can seem impossible to find the time or energy to nourish your relationships. But friends and family can provide practical support and can be a source of great comfort. Where possible, make time to reconnect.
Maybe you feel that your duty as a Carer is to put your social life, along with your own wants and needs, last. Maybe you feel that spending your time socialising is unproductive or selfish. Weeks without contact can quickly turn into months and years.
But maintaining your own social life is important. When you have people around you who you trust, it can make the difference between feeling supported, and feeling overwhelmed.
“A 2010 Carers Week survey revealed that many carers can no longer rely on relatives for support, as these relationships have suffered as a result of caring. Three out of four people surveyed said they had lost touch with family and friends.”
When you feel supported by the people around you, it means you can continue to do the best job possible for the ones you look after, so that you can both continue to enjoy life to its full.
Caring as a Family
While caring for a loved one can be incredibly rewarding, it’s important that you try to develop a network of support for you and the person you care for. This will allow you to take the breaks that you need, to manage periods of time when you aren’t able to provide care (perhaps due to your own health or other commitments). Caring for another is a marathon, not a sprint, it’s important to keep yourself topped up with the support and resources you need, in order to continue caring happily and healthily for long.
When you feel supported by the people around you, it means you can continue to do the best job possible for the person you look after, so that you can both continue to enjoy life to its full.
Although it can be difficult to reach out and ask for support, caring as a family can be a great way of creating a united circle of support around the one who needs it, with everyone taking a share of responsibility.
Remember, it’s important to ask for help and to be clear about the support you need from other family members, even if they live further away. Try to have this conversation before things get to much. Our Guide to Difficult Conversations may be of help. Download this or contact us to request one via post.
Carers UK also have some useful resources about the impact of caring on other relationships – Your relationships – Carers UK
Creating a Care Plan
One option to help you feel empower others to participate in supporting your loved one is to complete a Care Plan (also known as a What If plan). This document helps you capture all of the important information about your loved-ones needs and interests. It can be useful when another person who isn’t the main Carer is supporting them, whether that’s a friend, family member or professional. It’s also a valuable resource in the event of a crisis which suddenly prevents you for from being able to provide care, giving you peace of mind that your loved ones needs will be understood. You can download a template document here below.
Other sources of support:
Many local Carer Hubs or local authorities offer an emergency back-up service and a care cover service so you can attend important appointments – it’s important to register with them in advance.
Forward Carers offers a Carer Friendly ID card where you can record you details of someone to contact in the event of an emergency that prevents you providing care – find out more here below