CARE IN THE COMMUNITY

The Oban Times - - Feature -

JUNE 6-12 is Car­ers Week, an an­nual aware­ness cam­paign to cel­e­brate and recog­nise the vi­tal con­tri­bu­tion made by the 6.5 mil­lion peo­ple in the UK who care, un­paid, for a dis­abled, older or ill fam­ily mem­ber or friend. A carer is some­one who pro­vides un­paid care and sup­port to a fam­ily mem­ber or friend who has a dis­abil­ity, ill­ness, men­tal health prob­lem or who needs ex­tra help as they grow older. For some, tak­ing on a car­ing role can be sud­den: some­one in your fam­ily has an ac­ci­dent or your child is born with a dis­abil­ity. For oth­ers, car­ing creeps up un­no­ticed: your par­ents can’t man­age on their own any longer or your part­ner’s health grad­u­ally wors­ens. The amount and type of sup­port that car­ers pro­vide varies con­sid­er­ably. It can range from a few hours a week, such as pick­ing up pre­scrip­tions and pre­par­ing meals, to pro­vid­ing care day and night. Car­ing will touch each and ev­ery one of us in our life­time, whether we be­come a carer or need care our­selves. Whilst car­ing can be a re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, it can also have a dam­ag­ing im­pact on a per­son’s health, fi­nances and re­la­tion­ships. Ask­ing for help is the first step and it’s easy to do with a wide se­lec­tion of prod­ucts and ser­vices avail­able lo­cally. Seniors of­ten need as­sis­tance with day- to- day chores, med­i­ca­tions, home main­te­nance or rou­tines. De­men­tia is es­pe­cially trou­bling to deal with. Even when adult chil­dren are nearby to pro­vide as­sis­tance, busy lives make it nearly im­pos­si­ble to keep up. Trained pro­fes­sional ser­vices and home car­ers are avail­able to do this, al­low­ing the el­derly to stay in their own homes and adult chil­dren to get the pro­fes­sional as­sis­tance they need in car­ing for their loved ones. Phys­i­cally or men­tally dis­abled chil­dren and adults can also ben­e­fit from pro­fes­sional home care. Ex­pe­ri­enced car­ers can­not only as­sist at home; they can take clients on out­ings and help them pur­sue their in­ter­ests, whether it’s bird watch­ing or mu­sic ses­sions. Suc­cess­ful re­la­tion­ships are hard work. But some­times even hard work isn’t enough, when there are changes within the fam­ily, ad­dic­tion is­sues, death or fi­nan­cial cri­sis. Coun­selling al­lows fam­ily mem­bers or cou­ples to talk about their feel­ings and prob­lems with a trained, neu­tral pro­fes­sional in a con­fi­den­tial en­vi­ron­ment. The statis­tics on do­mes­tic vi­o­lence are sober­ing. A do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in­ci­dent is recorded ev­ery 10 min­utes in Scot­land. At least one in five women in Scot­land will ex­pe­ri­ence do­mes­tic abuse and one in three teenage girls suf­fers an un­wanted sex­ual act. Lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions are there to lis­ten and pro­vide so­lu­tions, whether a vic­tim needs to get safely out of a sit­u­a­tion im­me­di­ately or coun­selling for emo­tional trauma. There doesn’t have to be an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion for a per­son to reach out. Clin­i­cal de­pres­sion is a med­i­cal con­di­tion, not just feel­ing blue, and can be treated as such. Or some­times life gets over­whelm­ing and peo­ple just need some­one to talk with. What­ever the case, suffering in si­lence is not the an­swer. One phone call can be the first step to a happy, healthy life. Carer’s Week is be­ing cel­e­brated with a coffee morn­ing and in­for­ma­tion ses­sion on ‘ Re­able­ment’ at the North Ar­gyll Car­ers Centre on Al­bany Street on Tues­day June 7 from 11am. Also on June 7, Car­ers Mid Ar­gyll and the Isles will hold a day out at Por­tavadie Ma­rina. Book­ing is re­quired with the Dochas Centre. To find out more about Car­ers Week events Ar­gyll, visit www. car­er­sweek.org.

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