Rosie smiling at the cameraHere at the Hospice we meet many family members supporting the person they love as they become less well; most of them do not see themselves as a ‘Carer’. Often, people want to do the caring themselves – they know their loved one so well and want to look after them and protect them at a difficult time. We, of course, support them in this role, all the time trying to offer tips to ensure they also look after themselves.

Caring can be relentless and extremely tiring. We offer support to family members who are likely to care for someone who is becoming less well and who is likely to die soon. We are able to open up conversations that they may never have had before. After a recent Carers’ group session, we received feedback to say it was the first time an attendee had ever been able to talk about death openly and it had felt liberating to her. In our sessions we talk about many aspects of caring, about doing what you can but also asking for help when it all gets too much. A recent report from Carers UK stated that one in four people have a caring role – these are the unpaid carers (Carer’s Allowance is £69.70 per week) who put someone else’s needs before their own. They all deserve as much support as we can offer them and they deserve our utmost respect.

Here are some of the tips that carers give each other:

Get as much sleep as you can. A good night’s sleep will give you the energy you need.

Ask for help when you need it. Don’t be a hero, we all need help sometimes and you need to reach out for help when you need it.

Make sure you eat well – ensure you have a healthy diet to keep you as fit as you can. It’s no fun looking after someone when you don’t feel fit yourself; try to eat a balanced diet.

Do some things for yourself to keep your mind active and clear. Taking time for yourself is important for your own wellbeing.

Keep physically fit if you can – go out for walks when you get a chance. Fresh air and gentle exercise are great mood boosters.

Give yourself a few minutes each day to have some moments of calm. Even a short time to gather your thoughts will be of benefit to you.

Attend support sessions to share your thoughts with others who understand. It’s important to know you’re not alone.

Ask a friend to be on the end of a phone when you need to let off steam. They don’t need to give you any advice, they just need to listen.

Visit www.pah.org.uk/carers for further advice and support.

You can contact Rosie by emailing rosienoble@pah.org.uk or on 01372 468811.

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