Helping carers take care of themselves
Bedfordshire and Luton Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) are highlighting the important work done by carers and the help available to them.
The CCGs say that there are 40,000 carers across Bedfordshire providing unpaid support to family and friends. People who could not manage without their carer’s help. They make a huge contribution to improving the lives of older, disabled and chronically ill people, many of whom would otherwise need residential care.
Caring for a family member or close friend can be very rewarding. But this responsibility can, over a period of time, also become physically and emotionally challenging.
The CCGs say that all carers should take steps to maintain their own health and well-being and be aware of the support on offer.
They add that it is important that carers to notify their GP that they have caring responsibilities. As well as informing the doctor of the extra pressure they could be under, the GP can inform the appropriate services. This will ensure care for the person they look after continues should the carer fall ill.
The flu virus can be particularly dangerous for the elderly, long-term sick and other vulnerable groups. All carers should have the flu jab to protect themselves and those in their care.
Registered carers are eligible for free flu vaccinations which are available from GP practices and local pharmacies.
Local agencies offering support
Luton and Bedfordshire CCGs support two local agencies that provide assistance and advice for carers on many care-related issues including benefits and NHS grants, respite care, relieving stress and combating social isolation.
Carers Central is a registered charity based in Luton. This provides support and advice to unpaid adult carers, helping them to live fulfilled lives, alongside their caring roles. To contact Carers Central visit www.carerscentral.org.uk.
For carers living outside Luton, Carers in Bedfordshire offers specialist support to enhance the health and well-being of people of all ages with caring responsibilities. To contact Carers in Bedfordshire visit www.carersinbeds.org.uk.
Disability Resource Centre
Valuable advice and assistance for carers and those they care for is also available from the Disability Resource Centre. The award-winning charity offers disabled people and their families somewhere to turn if they feel alone and need help in any situation. To contact the Disability Resource Centre visit www.drcbeds.org.uk.