Looking after yourself
It can be so difficult when you’re juggling looking after somebody else, perhaps your family, work and the everyday things that happen in life, to find the time or energy to look after yourself too. Caring can be physically and emotionally demanding and it really is important that as a carer you look after your own needs as well as the person you care for.
Throughout our website, and particularly in the How the Trust can help you and For Carers sections, we hope you will find information to help you with your caring role. You may also find the following useful:
- The Trust’s specialist nurses are there to help you with your own needs as well as those of the person you care for so please do contact them. They are always happy to look at practical problems or sometimes the mixed emotions many carers face.
- Sharing your experiences with others in a similar situation can often help. You might like to try the Trust’s contact scheme and regional and online support networks to link up with other carers.
- Carers have a legal right to an assessment of their own needs if you are looking after a relative or friend who cannot manage without your help. Your carers’ assessment is your opportunity to let the local social services department know about the things that could make caring easier for you, for example:
- Sleep – are you getting enough?
- Health – how is your health in general?
- Relationships – are those with other people affected?
- Benefits – do you need more information?
- Time – are you able to have any time for yourself?
- Help – what services could help you get a break?
- Help – with household tasks?
- Help – with caring tasks during the day/night?
- Help – with activities for the person you care for?
Keeping well yourself can be very difficult because of the stress and physical demands of caring, but it is so important for your own mental and bodily health as well as to help you maintain your emotional and physical strength to cope and carry on. We have listed a few suggestions to help you keep well:
- Eat well – a healthy well balanced diet will help keep your energy levels up
- Stay fit – at least a little fresh air and exercise every day
- Relax – read, ring a friend, listen to some music – some time for you
- Training – look for local courses (see Caring with Confidence), eg, lifting and handling techniques
- Have a break – even a short break from caring will make a massive difference to how you feel and your energy levels
- Holidays – RADAR produce a book on holiday suitable holiday centres, and you can also get a holiday fact sheet from the Trust