Carers Week 2023
Carers Week is an opportunity for us to raise awareness for the community of unpaid carers, for the individuals who care, and help loved ones, who don't think of themselves as having caring responsibilities to identify as carers and therefore may not access the much-needed support that is available to them.
Here at Prama, we pride ourselves on the number of support services we offer for unpaid carers across Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole, and East Dorset.
When you're caring for someone, it is important to ensure that you look after yourself as well. This is particularly important when you are increasing the amount of unpaid care you are providing.
Caring can be very rewarding, but without the right support it can have a negative impact on your health, career, finances, and relationships.
This year you may have found that your caring role has become more challenging, or you may have taken on new caring responsibilities. Our support services vary, depending on the type of support individuals may be looking for, we try to make it as accessible as possible, by offering these services across BCP to ensure you do not have to travel too far.
A wonderful PramaLife community member, Stephen agreed to share his experience as a Carer and the impact that Prama has had. He said:
My journey as a Carer started in 2017. After attending many memory clinics, we finally got Carol’s diagnosis in October 2019. To begin with, I was in touch with many organisations that wanted to signpost me to websites which wasn’t what I needed. Many friends from my previous life had abandoned me as Carol’s Dementia worsened. When I first spoke to Prama, they offered me a befriending service and the lady who got in touch made a difference. PramaLife has helped me by befriending and mentoring me, so I have been getting to know people who are carers but much more than that, they have become friends. I go to Focus Carers at Colins Nest in Poole. This is a foundation to create supportive friendships. It’s also a platform to feed back in either by befriending others or helping practically with someone’s garden. Practical tips which sometimes you don’t know you need until you hear about them is great. The most important thing are the friendships I have now. PramaLife is key to keeping me going.
Prama recognises the support that is needed for Carers, all year round. Fortunately, the PramaLife team have the resources and services available for Carers in Dorset, whether that is advice, a phone call, weekly activities, support groups and more specific support services. We particularly want to implement the following work alongside carers and our partners from the Armed Forces and in the statutory, private, and voluntary sectors:
Many carers express that they feel isolated and/or lonely. Being valued as an individual as well as a carer is important for them. Hearing the experiences of other carers and sharing information and support will help them. We have developed support groups for carers, including organised groups e.g. with a speaker, as well as self-support networks and telephone support groups.
Many local carers are not aware of the existing support, which is available, and many support services are not aware of the needs of the carers. We work with carers and armed forces partners to influence local services to develop their practice and understanding, so that they are more responsive to carers from the Armed Forces community. We will continue learning, by engaging with new carers in different areas, it is crucial that we keep listening and responding to the needs of carers.
We recognise that differing communities have differing needs and we must ensure that we work with the communities themselves to tackle them. Working with our partners the Veterans Hub (Wyke Regis), the Defence Medical Welfare Service and the NHS Dorset CCG we applied to NHS England in 2021 for a small grant to find out more about the experiences of carers from the Armed Forces community.
We gathered feedback from 202 carers/cared for people, which has highlighted considerable need. We have found out that carers from this community tend to start caring at an earlier age than the general population of carers which means that they are juggling paid employment with their caring role and that there are specific issues around people seeking support and coping with mental health needs. We are now planning how we can tackle this need with our partners, the Carers and the wider Armed Forces community.
FOCUS offers emotional and practical support through befriending and mentoring carers.
Focus Befriending and Mentoring can join you up with someone to regularly talk to as a befriender (phone or face to face), or with a mentor who is an experienced carer themselves.
Carers Supporting Carers - Signposting Monthly groups to meet with other carers - understanding you are not the only one and not alone. Sharing experiences, gaining a sense of perspective, understanding transitions/future developments, developing and sustaining friendship.
Befriending and Mentoring 1.2.1 Support - signposting to other support and services.
If Only I'd Known That, One Carers Experience - Digital Booklet
For more information regarding the FOCUS Carers Support Scheme, please contact Wendy on 077361 34143 or email email@example.com
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