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A Practical Guide to Healthy Caring
Caring is such a hidden, often overlooked role and carers are unsung heroes. It’s very important that carers look after themselves as well as who they are caring for, so it’s great that NHS England has recently co-produced with the charities Carers UK, Carers Trust, Age UK, and Public Health England, plus input from carer networks, a 14-page practical guide to healthy caring. This is a companion guide to the healthy ageing guide and provides information and advice to carers about staying healthy whilst caring and identifies the support available to help carers maintain their own health and wellbeing. The booklet is written to help someone if they look after a friend or family member or have any form of caring responsibilities, and is aimed at those who are about 65 years or older and new to caring.
What is a carer?
Basically a carer is anybody who looks after someone who needs help because of their illness, frailty or disability. There are 5.4 million carers in England who make a critical and often underappreciated contribution not only to loved ones, neighbours and friends, but to the very sustainability of the NHS itself. Caring for someone who is ill or disabled can help people live well at home and be part of their local community, but they also have to make sure they look after their own health and wellbeing too. The practical guide provides hints and tips for carers about how they can look after their own health as well as support the person they care for.
Support for carers
Expert help is often needed for carers who are struggling emotionally with their caring role, they can feel isolated and are often in need of a friend or needing support when dealing with health and care planning . They sometimes need counselling to help deal with the low points of caring for another person. They may need advocacy and support to help at care planning and hospital discharge meetings, ensuring they as carers have their voices heard. Also, befriending schemes have volunteers who keep in regular contact with carers by visiting or telephoning and also help with transport for events and breaks.
The guide, available to order online via www.orderline.dh.gov.uk, explains what it’s like caring for someone, how carers can get help, information, advice and support, gives practical suggestions how carers can look after their own health, and how to cope with stress, anxiety and depression.
Public Health England: