Are you a carer? Do you have caring responsibilities?
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Mary Saunders MBACP Registered
2nd November, 20150 Comments
If you regularly look after someone you are an unpaid carer
You may be a family member, partner or friend. If the person you care for has physical or mental health issues, a learning disability, is a substance misuser, or is vulnerable or frail and you provide care with their day to day living you are considered a carer. The type of help you provide can be anything from personal hygiene, feeding, shopping, cooking or sorting out their financial affairs.
At some point in their lives three people out of five are carers. Although you may take on this caring role willingly, it can mean that it is more difficult to look after yourself. Often the time left available to you to manage the day to day tasks in your own life is limited, let alone having time to relax and to have freedom from your caring responsibilities.
Where to access information, support and help
Your GP can be a good starting point to enable you to access to local information and support. Carers UK is a national organisation for carers and there are local charities who are there to represent and help carers. The Adult Social Care Department of your local County Council will also be a source of help and information. For older people with caring responsibilities Age UK can provide a range of services and support.
Some ‘me’ time - 80% of carers say that their own ill health affects their ability to care
As well as the likelihood of caring impacting on your physical health, caring can place huge emotional demands on you and this can begin to affect your mental health. Seeing a counsellor at this time can be very helpful as it provides an opportunity to voice exactly how you feel about your caring role. You can also explore ways of managing your caring role so that hopefully you can cope better with the day to day demands it places on you.
About the author
Mary Saunders is an experienced counsellor working in private practice in Peacehaven and Seaford in East Sussex. Her counselling specialisms are in adoption, older people and substance misuse issues. She also manages the local Counselling service of a well-known charity. Mary is a Registered BACP Member qualified in Person-Centred counselling.
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