Support for carers
A carer is someone who provides support to family or friends who could not manage without this help.
Anyone can become a carer, and carers come from all walks of life, all cultures and can be any age.
There are nearly six million unpaid carers in the UK. You are a carer if you provide unpaid support with day to day living tasks or personal care to a family member or friend. Those you care for could be ill, frail, disabled, suffer from poor mental health.
Carers in Derbyshire
The Carers in Derbyshire website has been developed by a partnership of experienced family carers, health services, voluntary sector organisations, including Derbyshire Carers Association, and Derbyshire County Council Adult Care.
Carers in Derbyshire aims to give unpaid carers who live in Derbyshire reliable, up-to-date information and advice about topics including:
- carers assessments and eligibility
- carers breaks, including carer personal budgets
- a searchable directory of services for carers including support groups, sitting services and social activities
- carers rights
- health and wellbeing advice
- benefits for carers
- support for young and parent carers
- advice on planning for an emergency
Carers in Derbyshire has information on how to get help in a crisis.
Derbyshire Carers Association
Carers, regardless of how long they have been caring and who they for, are encouraged to register with Derbyshire Carers Association (DCA). This is so preventative measures can be put in place to reduce breakdown and ensure carers feel empowered, connected and informed.
Referrals can be made to DCA by phoning 01773 833833 or by completing an online form. All DCA services are free and confidential for carers supporting someone in Derbyshire. DCA aims to contact carers within three days of receiving a referral.
Skills for carers
Ensuring carers have the skills and knowledge to provide good care can reduce the risk of abuse and the stress and pressure carers experience. Feeling well-informed can make carers feel more confident and more effectively manage potentially challenging behaviour.
The NHS website has a health A to Z guide about conditions, symptoms and treatments, including what to do and when to get help, as well as a medicines A to Z guide about how medicines work, how and when to take them and possible side effects.
Information and advice
Many older people aged 50 and over, and their carers, live with issues that can be resolved or improved. Age UK has information and advice about welfare benefits, housing options, aids and adaptations, keeping their home maintained and warm, managing their money and paying for care and support, planning for the future etc can all help older people live well and be less vulnerable to abuse.
Age UK works closely with other charities and services to that their information and advice service can act as a gateway to other services such as Derbyshire Carers Association. For free, independent and expert advice, phone 01773 766922, or access the Age UK free factsheets and guides online.
Loneliness and isolation
Loneliness is as big a killer as smoking fifteen cigarettes per day. Reduced social interaction and contact with others can make older people more dependent on their abuser or increase the demands and therefore put stress on carers.
A local community voluntary service (CVS) can provide information about local groups and activities. Age UK Derby and Derbyshire can also help with information about different ways of reducing loneliness and isolation, phone 01773 766922.
Falls are the most common cause of sudden increases in care needs and admittance to long-term care. Reduced mobility and the fear of falling can lead to increased care demands, and vulnerability to physical violence.
Strictly No Falling classes are available countywide and offer a break for the carer and cared for, big improvements in mobility and confidence, health exercise, mental and emotional wellbeing, companionship and cognitive stimulation from regular gentle exercise in friendly, supportive classes.
Providing personal care, and especially ‘marmite’ care tasks such as footcare, which many people find repulsive, can increase carer stress.
Foot pain can increase symptoms such as irritability, reluctance to mobilise and anxiety. Age UK Derby and Derbyshire and the NHS in Derbyshire are working together to offer an affordable, long-term footcare solution for people aged fifty and over. For any new user enquiries or more details please phone 01773 766922 (option 2).
Taking a break
Respite for carers is essential to relieve the pressure of the responsibility of caring. Even long-distance carers report experiencing an impact on their mental health and wellbeing.
Respite can be achieved using some creative thinking. For example, carers can resume or maintain a hobby or activity supported by some telecare devices. Older people can attend a day centre or activity group giving their carer some time off. Carer and cared for can attend an activity together such as a lunch club or falls prevention class. Grant funds or savings can pay for a short-break or equipment that reduces the impact of a routine task such as washing.
Incontinence can be one of the biggest triggers for admission to care settings and carers often describe it as the last straw. Incontinence can increase the caring role and intimate care with its associated risks of abusive behaviour, as well as increasing laundry and household tasks, decrease attendance at social activities, leading to increased costs for incontinence equipment.
The NHS has information and sources of support about urinary incontinence.
Alzheimer’s Society and Derbyshire Dementia Support Services
The Alzheimer’s Society provides dementia support services in Derbyshire to deliver information, care navigation, advice and support, along with group activities, for people affected by dementia.
Carers Speak video
To mark Carers Rights Day in November 2019, Carers in Derbyshire spoke to local carers asking them about their caring roles, the support they received – good and bad – from health and social care staff, and how they manage their own wellbeing. They were also asked what matters to them most. A video has been produced with the responses.
Watch the Carers Speak video.