This winter will be a challenging one, and no one is feeling the effects of the pandemic more than family carers. They give support to family or friends who could not manage without their help. 3 in 5 people will be carers at some point in their lives. They could be caring for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems.
Covid-19 continues to have a monumental impact on carers, not only because of the increased amount of care that many are having to provide, but because of the far-reaching effect that this is having on their relationships, their mental and physical health, their paid work and their emotional wellbeing. In addition, worrying about the winter is causing stress and anxiety for carers, many of whom have had no break from caring for many months.
If you are looking after someone, you might be struggling to take time for yourself. And winter can be an especially difficult time. Local charity, Carers Support Centre, understands how incredibly difficult it is for carers right now. Whatever your caring situation, the charity welcomes your call and all their services are free. They support carers throughout Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
CarersLine is their confidential information and support service for carers. You can contact them with any questions or concerns that you have, to do with your caring role. CarersLine makes time for everyone who gets in touch, and understand the difficulties that carers face. They can help with information about benefits and debt and where carers can go to get specialist help, juggling work and care, breaks from caring and other ways of looking after yourself.
When your time is already stretched, the shorter, darker days can make it feel impossible to do something for yourself. However, it is important to do things to take care of yourself too. Carers Support Centre’s Wellbeing Service gives carers emotional support and aims to help you become more resilient. The service is confidential and is delivered by phone and online. You can choose between 3 telephone services:
Counselling – a confidential space to talk with a professional counsellor.
Mentoring – if you are new to caring, or tackling a new set of challenges, get advice and understanding from another carer.
Befriending – open to anyone who would like a chat. Their befrienders are available and eager to connect.
Get in touch by calling CarersLine on 0117 965 2200. You will need to leave a message with your name and telephone number and someone from Carers Support Centre will call you back as soon as they can.
For free help and advice, visit www.carerssupportcentre.org.uk