6 Ways To Help Carers Look After Themselves

In the UK, 6.5 million people currently care for a loved one. With people living for longer and the pressures facing the social care system, this figure is forecast to rise by 38% (9 million) by 2037 and it’s estimated that 3 in 5 of us will be carers at some point in our lives*.

There’s no denying that caring for a parent can be rewarding, but it can also be incredibly stressful. The pressure to want the best for them as their situation changes, and the strain of managing your day-to-day life too, can mean that carers put their own health and wellbeing on the backburner.

Here are six ways that carers can make their wellbeing a priority:

1.     Talk about it: Tell a family member, friend or professional what’s on your mind. Carers Oxfordshire also have support groups, where you can talk to people going through the same thing as you. Or if you don’t feel able to do that, a journal can be a source of comfort where you can be open with your feelings.

2.    Ask for help: Far from being a sign of weakness, getting the support of people around you can help you keep providing the best care for your loved one.  There may be opportunities in the community too which give you a bit of time off – for example, Fairfield Residential Home in North Oxford runs relaxation days for carers.

3.    Keep your health a priority. Exercise is good for the body and mind – and the good news is that it can be done anywhere! There’s some great at-home exercise programmes that don’t require any equipment and cater for all fitness levels (we love The Body Coach) if you don’t have the time to leave the house. Exercise classes (new ones are constantly appearing across Oxfordshire) provide a great social opportunity too – or just going walk outside can be a fantastic way to clear your head and exercise at the same time.

4.    Be proud of what you’re accomplishing: Tracking your daily successes with your loved one can help to reduce stress, and help you realise what you’re doing. Write them down on a piece of paper and stick it to the fridge so you can see them.

5.    Focus on nutrition: When caring for someone it can be easy to put your diet on the backburner, but a well balanced diet can give you the strength you need to get through the day. Are there friends and family who can help you with cooking? Or will a food delivery service save you time and hassle?

6.    Plan for time for yourself: You may still have daily tasks such as housework, looking after your young family or work to do. Plan ahead, get the support you need to help you do these, and don’t feel guilty about having this time away from your loved one. Doing all these things will help you, which in turn will help them.

We know that every care experience is different, and these are just some ideas for how carers can focus on their wellbeing too. At ElWell we can support carers, providing them help with their loved ones or for themselves.  Give us a ring on 01865 238185 or email hello@el-well.com to speak with us about this.

* Stats from Carers UK