There are currently around 40,000 carers in Kirklees and the evidence shows that more and more of us are becoming carers. This can mean providing care all day, every day, or for just a few hours a week.
You might care for someone in your own home or for someone who lives miles away. Whatever the situation, caring can have a huge impact on your life and your own health. Support to help you look after yourself can be a lifeline, especially when it includes advice from others who have been through what you are going through. Therefore, this guide to carer well-being has been inspired by the experiences of other carers.
It's easy to become isolated when you are caring, whether you are working or not. Making a bit of time for yourself by going to a group can give you some fresh conversation and help your mental health. Many carers love sharing their experiences with other carers. However, we do understand that going to a group for the first time can be daunting, so please get in touch if you would like support with this.
Additionally, finding a group for the person you care for can also be a great source of support and respite for you both. Carers Count would be happy to help you with this too.
Getting involved in something different can help keep you strong, both physically and mentally. It's easy to ignore your own health needs, but you need to look after yourself to be able to care for someone else. Many carers enjoy taking part in Tai Chi, group walks, meditation courses or art groups. Carers Count also run quarterly day trips to places such as the seaside, local places of interest or Christmas markets.
Andrea, quoted above, said this about attending our Arts and Crafts group: "This proved to be a very therapeutic experience and I slowly began to return to my true self. Weeks later I was trying out new techniques with other members of the group, and was able to come out of myself more. The various activities are carried out in a mindful way, and this has helped me to express my long-suppressed feelings and emotions... Carers Count and especially the Arts and Craft Group have not only increased my resilience, but have had a profound effect on the way I think, feel and behave."
If you want to find something in your area and don't know where to start, please see our Calendar or use the Contact Us page to request a call back. We can answer any questions you might have and tell you what to expect.
Respite comes in many shapes and forms; it could be a couple of hours with a free sitting service to allow you both some time out with other people, or it might be day care or a residential break. It can be a very positive experience for both the carer and cared-for. If you would like to know more about what is available or the costs of respite, then please Contact Us.
Someone to talk to
If you care for someone with a mental health condition, alcohol or substance misuse issues or early-onset dementia, our Mental Health team can help. One of the ways they can do this is by providing one-to-one support, which means you will have someone to talk to about how you are feeling, either over the phone or in person. Please see the Mental Health page for more information or use the Contact Us page.
If you are struggling to make your opinions and experiences heard by health and social care professionals, or you have a complaint about a service, you might benefit from talking to an advocate. Find out more about advocacy here or Contact Us.
Forums allow carers to share their views, concerns and experiences in a safe and friendly environment. They provide an opportunity for carers to hear about changes to services directly from the professionals who are planning and making the changes, and for carers to have a say, so that they have a positive impact on what is proposed. If you would like to find a forum to discuss services for a specific condition, please see our Calendar or use the Contact Us page to request a call back. If you feel unable to attend a forum but would like to share your views, please let us know as we would be happy to try and help.
Carer well-being is particularly important during the coronavirus crisis.
Please see the resources below and visit our Library and Calendar for more information.
We are here to listen and help if we can. Please get in touch if you need support.