People looking after a relative or friend are being encouraged to consider their own health and well-being by taking a short break from their caring duties this summer.
According to Care for the Carers, a charity that provides support for carers in East Sussex, a carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, cannot cope without their support.
There are around 60,000 unpaid carers in East Sussex, however the figure is likely to be much higher as many people don’t identify themselves as being a carer, perceiving their caring role to be one of their duties. Carers come from all walks of life and many will be juggling other commitments such as a job and family.
The charity’s research shows that carers are more likely to neglect their own health and wellbeing with 50% saying that their mental health has suffered and more than half admitting to having let a health problem go untreated.
Sussex Housing & Care, a local not-for-profit provider of residential care, believes that many carers find it difficult to take a holiday or have some time off because they are worried about how their loved one will manage without them. They may not be aware of what alternative arrangements are available or they may feel guilty about putting their loved one into respite care.
Lindsey Sherwood, manager of Ardath care home in Bexhill, said: “We understand how difficult it is for carers to take some time out for themselves, so are offering a way for them to do this so that they can take a break knowing their loved one will be looked after in comfortable and caring surroundings, by our professional and friendly team. And when they are reunited both will have new experiences to share.
“Although they are looking after someone they love, it is still a job and a hard one at that. We all need a break from work from time to time so that we can continue to do our jobs as effectively as possible. It’s really important for carers to take some time off from caring so that they can carry on caring.
“Summer is a time when many carers might like to take a break, perhaps to spend time with their children during the school holidays. We are able to welcome people for a short stay at one of our homes, which we hope will make it easier for their carers to get that well-earned rest, and are currently offering two days free for a two-week stay. You can see further details about our short stay offers on our website. We would also like to invite both carers and their loved ones to the home, to pop in and say hello, or join residents for lunch, and see how they both feel.”
Sussex Housing & Care is a not for profit organisation, and has been supporting older people in Sussex since 1946. All its homes are rated ‘Good’ by CQC. For more information visit sussexhousing.org.uk or call 01323 875240.
Care for the Carers is the Carers Centre for East Sussex and offers free information, support and advice along with access to activities, training and counselling for unpaid carers across the county. To find out more call 01323 738390, email email@example.com or visit their website www.cftc.org.uk