Free & low-cost help for carers does exist, but you have to sometimes go looking for it. There are millions of carers across England, often many of them older people or children. It can be a very stressful and tiring job, especially if you are looking after someone who you can’t leave for long, due to fear of them falling or wandering off etc.
Also ensure both patient and carer are getting the benefits. The media often talks of ‘benefit cheats’ but in truth, most of the billions unclaimed is from vulnerable people who are unaware of their rights. Visit Turn 2 Us to perform an online benefits check, and make sure you claim backdated money (often 3 months). Grandparents Plus offers help for ‘kinship carers’. Also see how to find free & low-cost help for carers.
- Helping Hands at Home is a care agency that offers visiting care nationwide. A Helping Hands carer can help with safely moving around the home, personal care, household chores, running errands and caring for pets.
- Cinnamon Trust and PAPAS also have dog walking volunteers that can also care for other pets, take pets to the vets and often foster or volunteer pets, if you or someone you love goes into hospital). The former also lists pet-friendly nursing homes, and can arrange adoption, if the patient dies.
- Feeling isolated? Have a friendly chat on the phone with volunteers at Befrienders or The Silver Line. The latter can also link you up in a conference call, so lots of carers in the same area or with the same situations can chat to each other.
Books to Help Make Life Easier for Carers
- The Caregiver’s Companion is a book by the founders of Nourish for Caregivers, a Christ-centred parish-based support group, for those juggling the demands of caring for loved ones. Just a few moments each day with the encouraging readings can help you discover soul-nourishing respite. Draw strength from your faith and experience the blessings of each present moment. The site has a useful checklist to make your home safe for patients.
- Fall Prevention is a book to help make homes accessible and safe. Written by 2 physical therapists, this large-format illustrated book includes tips on eliminating fall hazards with simple home modifications. It’s companion book Fall Prevention: Stay On Your Own Two Feet has tips to keep patients safe.
- The Carer Handbook has tips for carers on how to cope practically and emotionally, whether that involves shopping for a neighbour, or giving up to work to care full-time for a disabled child or a confused parent. Includes self-care tips.
- Earth Wise Girls sell washable bamboo pads that are more comfortable than plastic. Natracare sells organic disposable incontinence pads,
- Uribag (free on the NHS) is ideal for disabled people, especially if travelling in the car. Just pee into the Latex ‘film canister’, empty it out, then wash at home.