By Fiona Prinzi of Swindon Carers Centre
This is the question we ask unpaid carers in Swindon when they register with Swindon Carers Centre for advice and support. But many people do not think of themselves as carers and can be missing out on the various rights, benefits and support that may help them in their caring role.
Anyone could be a carer – a 15 year old girl looking after a parent with an alcohol dependency problem, a 40 year old man caring for his partner with a terminal illness or an 80 year old woman looking after her husband who has Alzheimer’s disease.
Although caring has many positive and rewarding aspects, it can have many challenges including social isolation, problems at work, stress and depression and physical exhaustion.
If you are a carer, it is important to look after your own health and well-being, even if you are busy looking after someone else’s health. Being well is not only important to you, but to the person you care for.
You can talk to your GP about being a carer and they may be able to offer you additional support for your emotional and physical well-being.
You may feel your friends or work colleagues don’t fully understand the demands of caring if they do not have a caring role, but you can find this support through carer groups with Swindon Carers Centre.
You may be entitled to benefits or would like advice about talking to your employer about your caring role and the difficulties of balancing work and caring. Remember, one in eight of us is a carer, so the person you talk to at work may be a carer too.
Swindon Carers Centre has a GP and Hospital Liaison Outreach Practitioner,who works in partnership with Swindon doctors’ surgeries and GWH, so there is help and support available for you and your own needs.
If you would like any information about support for you in your caring role, please contact Swindon Carers Centre on 01793 531133 or firstname.lastname@example.org