This week is Carers Week we are creating more opportunities for carers to access information or support and stay healthy and connected - the theme of the week. We have set up a support group for carers in the Borehamwood area that met for the first time during Carers Week (Thursday 14th) and we will have at least 16 local ‘Hub’ groups by 2019 with two more planned this year in Harpenden and Royston.
We also have Forums for certain groups of carers – dementia, mental health, those affected by someone’s drugs or alcohol misuse and learning disability.
After support from family and friends, the next type of help that makes the most difference to carers is support from other carers. A third of carers responding to a Carers in Hertfordshire survey about the caring situation in Hertfordshire said they had found peer support useful.
Almost 1,500 carers responded to the survey earlier this year and 37% said they felt isolated – the groups and free courses and workshops that Carers in Hertfordshire offers carers help address this.
Michael, who cares for a son with an Autistic Spectrum Condition and goes to a group, said: “The group has had a big impact on my caring role. Before I went, I thought my family was in a unique caring situation, but after going to a few meetings I found other people were in a similar position to us and that brought me comfort. It’s useful being able to discuss experiences with others who understand and get advice from them.”
The survey also showed:
- 57% of carers feel they are not getting enough sleep (lower than the 69% reported from the national Carers UK survey.) To help carers with this, Carers in Hertfordshire organises free workshops with topics such as meditation, mindfulness and sleep tips. The charity ran a practical caring session focussed on sleep and relaxation with Garden House Hospice, Letchworth, on Monday 11th June. Lesley, from Hitchin, who cares for elderly relatives attended the session and said: “It was useful, particularly meeting other carers and finding out about relaxation techniques.”
- One in four carers locally have missed or put off attending a health appointment because of their caring role. The national figure is 51%. To address this, Carers in Hertfordshire works with hospitals, GP practices, pharmacies and the two Clinical Commissioning Groups in the county to identify the best ways to support carers. Most GP practices in Hertfordshire have a Carers Champion.
Michèle Stokes, our Chief Executive , said: “Ensuring Hertfordshire’s 115,000+ carers are identified, supported and stay well is at the heart of what we do at Carers in Hertfordshire. We work with partners at Hertfordshire County Council and NHS and health organisations in the county to make sure carers have the services and help they need, when they need it and that they are listened to and respected.”
Michèle continued: “We understand connections need to be on carers' own terms, whether online, by phone or face to face, and this Carers Week and the rest of the year we are ready to help any way someone wants to get in touch.”
You can contact us by calling 01992 58 69 69 and for a list of events for carers taking place around the county please see our Carers Week page.