We’ve been in lockdown for so long that as restrictions are easing we might all feel a bit differently about getting out and about. Maybe there are some specific barriers to overcome, What we know for sure from carers that have started to enjoy the new freedoms - it is definitely worth the effort.
We asked carers in our community what challenges they were facing, and more importantly what solutions they had found.
Keep up to date
Guidelines are being updated more frequently now and differ depending on what country we are in. We don't have to go at the same pace, we can take time to make our own decisions, we might need to tell others what we think too so they understand why we aren't accepting invitations or that we might be more keen to get out and meet up than we were before.
This Government page has links for the most recent updates for all 4 nations.
Free Covid home test kits are now available for adults. For additional protection for ourselves and those we are meeting we can carry out a Lateral Flow Test before we leave the house (and ask those we are meeting with to do the same). We can order ours here.
Vaccination for unpaid carers
Many of us have already had our first vaccination and even our second. Don’t forget as unpaid carers we are in priority group 6 and so can book our vaccine now if we haven’t already had it. Find out more here.
As with all change small forward steps can make it easier to manage, we might even find ourselves looking forward to simple pleasures.
I find doing one or two things in a week to mark increased freedom helps, if it’s possible....
A few small step ideas from the community:
A takeaway coffee on a park bench, maybe with a friend
A short door step chat
A wander around a spacious garden centre or open air market
Shopping in a smaller, local shop - just buy a few items
Shopping at non peak times
A trip to the seaside might be quite a mission, is there a patch of grass, open sky or water that is nearer?
A mini picnic
Join an outdoor exercise session or a walk and chat group
A trip to the zoo, farm or other outdoor attraction
Still not keen to do supermarkets. Still shopping online but it’s lonely.
Just popping to the loo!
For many of us this isn't easy at the best of times but there are a few things that could help.
The Bladder and Bowel Community can provide a free “Just Can’t Wait” digital card that can be downloaded onto phones and discreetly shown so that access can be given to toilets. There is a plastic version available for £1.99 too. We can find out more here.
Our challenge now we're allowed out again, is the same as before - access to toilets. When you care for someone with full personal care, finding a suitable toilet is quite an event. And typically we need to find one quickly.
Changing Places toilets provide safe, comfortable accessible facilities. We can find out more and check if these are available at places we are planning to visit here
Mobiloo is an attended mobile toilet service with hoist and changing bench. If we're planning on attending an event we can check with the organiser to see if they are providing this service. Or we can look at the Mobiloo site and see events that they have been booked for.
If we, or someone we care for, has a hidden disability it can be hard to explain why we might need help or that communication might not be easy. The sunflower lanyard is becoming more widely recognised as a way of showing we might need support, understanding or patience. A card can be added to explain more, including a number of icons that are becoming more widely recognised. They can be bought online or in bigger retailers. Find out more here
Providing personal care to someone in another household? Equipement like aprons, mask and gloves (PPE) is now provided free of charge to unpaid carers, we can contact our local council to find out more.
Many of us are finding it hard to get out as we can’t leave loved ones alone and taking them out adds to the challenges and complications. Now might be the time to start planning ahead. Some of our community suggest arranging for a friend to come and sit with them in the garden for a short time to make a short trip out possible.
A change of 4 walls for even a couple of hours helps to break the negativity cycle
If we are feeling that we might never be able to get out of the house again or that we are being left behind it migt be time to start thinking about further support. Our first steps for getting help and support with our caring roles blog might be a good place to start. Or perhaps try a chat with one of the carer support team to see work out a way forward. Find out more and book a call.
Things sometimes take a while to set up so starting now is the perfect time to start. In the meantime our Carer's guide to getting stuff done without leaving the house blog might have some helpful tips.
Something for the wish list
Bought a camper van for holidays but find it’s really good for days out as we have a flushable loo and running water for hand washing. A day out at national trust now can last all day using our van as a base. Freedom!
Perhaps borrowing one or hiring one might be an option too?