In East Dunbartonshire 1 person in 8 provides care and support 3 out of 5 people nationally will become a carer at some point in their lives
What is Caring?
When people need help with their day-to-day living they often turn to their family and friends. In East Dunbartonshire approximately 2,314 people are currently living with dementia and these figures will rise with the growing older population. Most people helping someone with dementia don’t identify with the term carer and would probably say:
“I’m just being a husband, a wife, a mum, a dad, a son, a daughter, a friend, or a good neighbour.”
However you are part of a large unpaid army of carers in Scotland and entitled to be respected and valued for the care you provide.
A person with dementia can Live Well with Dementia for many years with carers helping with things like shopping, laundry, cleaning, cooking, filling in forms or managing money. For most people with an early diagnosis of dementia there is time to Plan for the Future and think about Making Care Decisions while they still have the capacity to do so, in discussion with their carers and family. Post-diagnostic support is available for one year for people who have been diagnosed with dementia since April 2013 and a Link (Post Diagnostic Support) Worker will assist the person with dementia to develop a Personal Support Plan. We know it can be hard to come to terms with a diagnosis of dementia, but with support the newly diagnosed person and their carers can learn about the condition and manage the symptoms, Access Community Support and connect with services, groups and social networks. The East Dunbartonshire Dementia Network offer home visits, outreach services and dementia cafes and can provide information on all of the above.
How Does Caring Affect your Life?
Gradually caring for a person with dementia can become more demanding. How caring affects you depends on how much you are doing, what else is going on in your life, and to some extent what kind of a person you are. Caring can be a rich source of satisfaction in people’s lives. It can be life-affirming. It can help deepen and strengthen relationships. It can teach you a multitude of skills and help you realise potential you never thought you had.
However, without the right support caring can have a devastating impact. Evidence shows that caring can cause ill health, poverty and social isolation. When caring is intensive and unsupported you are at risk of ‘burning out’ and may struggle to hold down a job, get a night’s sleep, stay healthy and maintain your relationships with friends and family. Carers Link is the local charity supporting carers throughout East Dunbartonshire and a partner in the East Dunbartonshire Dementia Network. Don’t leave it too late to make contact and get advice, information and support for Your Caring Role. Carers Link Caring with Confidence courses (face to face and online), events and groups provide opportunities for carers to learn, share and explore new skills whilst taking ‘time-out’ to relax, make friends and gain support.
Getting Support for your Caring Role
Sometimes caring for someone can feel like a huge responsibility, and it is easy to be drawn into feelings of anxiety when dealing with health and social care services and finding out what benefits are available. You may be overwhelmed but you can find out about how health and social care professionals can help. It is also common to experience feelings of resentment and guilt, or that you are out of your depth and would like to talk to someone outwith your family and friends who can identify with your caring experience. Many carers tell Carers Link that they find dealing with their own emotions about their caring role very stressful. If you regularly provide a substantial amount of care you are entitled to a Carer’s Assessment and their staff can help you complete this and forward it onto Social Work. The assessment aims to find out what help you need with caring and help you maintain your own Carer’s Health and Wellbeing. Following concerns raised by carers, Carers Link have developed an Emergency Planning Service. Completing an Emergency Plan is an ideal opportunity for carers to record, in detail, what they actually do as a carer for the person they care for. It aims to give the carer some influence over the care the person may receive in an emergency, for more information contact Carers Link.
You may also find a Wellbeing Review useful, this is chance to think about your physical, mental and social wellbeing and get advice and information on how to make improvements to your wellbeing or how to get support to maintain your wellbeing alongside your caring role, these are offered to carers in East Dunbartonshire by Carers Link If you are not from East Dunbartonshire information on local support is also available from Carers Scotland.