As a carer for somebody, it is very important that you take time to look after yourself. We’ve put together a few tips to try and help . . . . . . .
Take a Break
We know it isn’t always easy to put aside time for yourself when you are caring but doing so may help you keep well, which is better for you and in turn the person you care for.You could try putting aside 10 minutes a day to sit quietly and read a newspaper or magazine, or listen to some favourite music. Try and get out every week to see a friend or pursue an interest, even for just a short time. It is very important that you do something to keep in touch with the outside world, to avoid feeling isolated.
Accept support from family and friends
It’s natural to want to give the best care possible,which often means we try to do everything alone. Many family members and friends want to help but don’t know how, so try to accept their offers by giving them specific things to do at a specific times. This can also be a valuable source of support for you. Remember, if they offer it’s because they want to help. If you say you can manage, they might not offer again.
Look after yourself emotionally
Caring can be rewarding but at times it’s possible to feel low and anxious, as if you aren’t doing enough. Try and give yourself credit, not guilt. Know that your care does make a difference and that you are doing the best you can. At times when you do feel low it is important to talk to someone about how you feel, maybe a friend, family member, helpline or a support worker at the Carer’s Centre. You can call us on 0121 788 1143.
Look after your health
Try to eat a balanced diet with at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day and to get a little exercise when you can, even if it’s only a five minute walk to the shop. It’s very easy to neglect your own health needs so do make sure you visit your doctor regularly. If you are unwell or have a symptom you’re concerned about, get it checked quickly. Don’t leave it to get worse. GP practices should have a carers register, so make sure you ask at your surgery and register as a carer. Being on the register will alert the practice that you are caring for somebody which may help with obtaining suitable appointments. If you personally tell your doctor that you are a carer they will have a better understanding of your circumstances when it comes to your own health needs.
Know about the condition you are caring for
When someone we become a carer for is diagnosed with a condition it can be very traumatic. Knowing as much about the condition as possible may help with understanding and care planning. For more information about specific support agencies please call one of our support workers who can give you advice and information. You can call us on 0121 788 1143.
Know your rights
As a carer you are entitled to certain benefits and services. For more information go to http://www.solihullcarers.org/helpadvice/welfarebenefit/ redo link or http://www.solihullcarers.org/helpadvice/legal/ redo link