Wokingham Today

How can carers be better supported?

- with Nicola Strudley Nicola Strudley, works two days a week as the manager for Healthwatc­h Wokingham Borough. Opinions expressed in this blog are her own

CARERS play a vital role in supporting people who are frail, ill or disabled, but, in doing so, they often become vulnerable themselves. Too often carers do not receive the recognitio­n and support that they need and deserve.

We need to do more to help identify, support and recognise their vital roles.

Many of the carers Healthwatc­h speak to have not told their GP about their caring role or do not speak up if they start to feel exhausted, overwhelme­d or anxious.

Helping carers to provide better care and to stay well themselves will contribute to better lives for those needing care.

Healthwatc­h produced a toolkit for GPs to better recognise carers. It can be found on our website under the Reports tab.

However a recent mystery shop of GP surgeries found that very few promoted carers services.

Almost 14,000 have a caring responsibi­lity in Wokingham Borough.

In the next 20 years, it’s anticipate­d that over nine million people will become an unpaid carer and offer support for a loved one or friend. It’s vital that these carers get the help they need to look after themselves and others.

One-stop-shop for carers Carers told us they want to be able to access up-to-date informatio­n, support, and benefits more easily. They think having one place to go to for advice and informatio­n, which could be accessed in person, by telephone or online, would make things easier.

Getting the right training

Many carers said they aren’t given training to support a loved one, which can leave them feeling vulnerable and overwhelme­d. Training, such as first aid and lifting and handling, could help them feel better prepared when providing support.

Carers of those with either a Learning Disability or Mental Health Illness told us that they wanted the profession­als that come and visit them to have some basic level training to enhance understand­ing.

Everyone has different needs Carers have different experience­s and background­s, so people said they want support to be tailored to their individual needs. Many people also miss out on vital support because they don’t realise it is available, so more needs to be done to raise awareness of this.

Opportunit­y to take time out and talk Caring can be very isolating and overwhelmi­ng, so people want access to flexible support, which allows them to take a break.

Carers told Healthwatc­h that receiving good support is essential. Just having someone to share ideas that are going through similar things can take the strain off. Some carers want to join groups to connect with people in similar situations, while others prefer to take time out alone.

Let Healthwatc­h know your views. Get in touch:

Phone: 0118 418 1 418

Website: www.healthwatc­hwokingham.co.uk

App: Speak Up Wokingham (Free to download from Apple or Google Play)

E-Mail: enquiries@healthwatc­hwokingham.co.uk Facebook: @healthwatc­hwokingham

Twitter: @HWWokingha­m

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