Carers – support is out there

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Having met with a number of local employers recently, I have been struck by the difficulty in recruiting for Carers positions in Suffolk.  

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Last month I met a woman I’m going to call ‘Anne’. She cares for her husband ‘Ted’ who has a hereditary eye condition – he is also registered blind. Anne has been caring for Ted for many years, but recently has struggled with her own physical and mental health.

Anne felt that her health and wellbeing needs should come second to Ted’s, as he has suffered for so long… and this is a very common syndrome amongst home-carers. But the truth is that when the wellbeing of the carer deteriorates, so too does their ability to care.

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Happily, Anne’s GP was quick to spot this and referred her to a carer’s support group. There were many people from all walks of life in this group; some, like Anne cared for relatives and spouses, other were professional carers, working in this sector and determined not to stop – and were therefore seeking the support they needed at crucial times, when they otherwise may have stopped doing this work altogether.

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Anne worked with her support group for around 12 weeks. She was monitored for both her physical and mental health and offered support and advice in both areas. She told me that the most significant part of being in that support group, was the realisation that she was not alone.

She received one-to-one support and her confidence grew. Anne now volunteers at the support groups and speaks to others in a similar position to herself and also this employed as professional carers.

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She has also spoken at events for the social work students at various universities, to illustrate or them the realities of being a carer.

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As Anne says, this is the hardest job in some respects – but it’s also the best job in the world!

if you’d like information regarding support groups for carers, please go to: http://www.carersuk.org/

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