It’s Carers Week this week, recognising the contribution of the 1 in 8 people who care for a family member, friend or neighbour. Here in Liverpool there are over 50,000 carers and 1 in 12 secondary school pupils are carers. We spoke to the team at Liverpool Carers Centre at Local Solutions to find out their top tips for carers.
1. Don’t try and do it alone - Ask for help
Many people do not recognise themselves as carers as their caring responsibilities have grown slowly. There’s plenty of support available from organisations across the city and many people will be surprised how supportive employers, family members and friends will be when you tell them about your situation. Everyone knows a carer, so it's closer-to-home for most people than you think. Why not pop along to the free Carers Event, 10:30-3:30, Thursday 14th June in Williamson Square, Liverpool. Over 50 organisations will be showcasing the support on offer to carers, with plenty of fun activities such as Tai Chi and Zumba throughout the day.
2. Tell your GP at your next appointment
When you next visit your GP, make sure you tell them about your caring role so that they can take this into account and link you in with available support.
3. Make time for yourself
All carers will be juggling other responsibilities such as work and family as well as their caring role and nearly half of carers in Liverpool are delivering more than 20 hours of care each week. It’s easy to feel there is not enough time to do the things that you enjoy and neglect your own interests which will eventually impact your wellbeing. Looking after yourself is so important and will benefit you and the person that you care for. This could be doing some exercise, seeing a friend, watching your favourite TV program, going on a night out – do make it a priority and enlist the help of your family and friends to make it work, which brings us to the 4th top tip….
4. Tell family and friends so they can give you practical and emotional support
Make sure your family and friends know about your caring responsibilities and talk to them about how it is going. When people offer to help, think about what will benefit you the most – perhaps sitting with your family member for a few hours so you can go out – and consider accepting their offer!
5. Contact your local Carers Centre and ask for a Carers Assessment
Each local authority will have support for Carers – contact your local carers centre and ask for an assessment – they will be able to advise you of the support that is available. Here in Liverpool the Liverpool Carers Centre is funded by the city council and offers 1-to-1 support through Carers Assessments and a program of courses and health and wellbeing activities where you can meet other carers in similar situations. Support for young carers up to the age of 18 in Liverpool is provided by Barnardos.
To find out more about support available from Liverpool Carers Centre, please call 0151 7052307.