August’s Mobilise Moment - Quality of life for carers

Every month we take a temperature check-in for unpaid carers in the Mobilise community. Checking in on how we’re all feeling and what our main challenges or concerns are right now. As always, thank you to everyone who took part.

Illustration of a man and woman gardening together.

To take part next month, simply sign up to our weekly email.

This is one of a number of ways Mobilise keeps in touch with carers, find out how they are and understand the things that matter.

It guides our day to day services and our longer term strategies.

More importantly, this month it has helped us to understand how life is for individual carers like you and to check-in on how we can help.

Biggest challenges for unpaid carers

Carers in the Mobilise community shared a variety of immediate challenges they were facing.

But there were two particular challenges that were particularly prevalent right now:

  • Achieving quality of life for the carer and the person we care for

  • Coping with the changing stages of our caring role

We’ve pulled together a few ideas for how we may be able to support ourselves with these challenges.

How can we improve our quality of life as an

unpaid carer?

How we measure quality of life is to some degree subjective.

Illustration of a man watering a plant.

But Wikipedia states:

“Standard indicators of the quality of life include wealth, employment, the environment, physical and mental health, education, recreation and leisure time, social belonging, religious beliefs, safety, security and freedom”

If achieving ‘quality of life’ is a current challenge for us, then it’s safe to assume we do not feel we have the balance we need across these elements of our life.

To improve our experience of our quality of life, there are several things we can try:

1. Use a life wheel to identify what area of our life needs support

A good starting point could be to use a life wheel (or pizza as carers in our community renamed it). This is a really simple tool, to help us identify what is important to us. And how well we are currently meeting those needs.

Once we’ve completed our wheel, we’ll be able to clearly see which areas of our life need our attention. And that’s when we can start creating a plan of action to meet our needs better.

Suzanne’s video talks us through the Wheel of Life activity. Why not pop the kettle on, sit down and have a go.

2. Identify what carer support would be most helpful?

After completing the life wheel activity above, we’ll have a much clearer idea about what support we need in which areas of our life.

Perhaps we’ve identified that the spirituality section of our life wheel is lacking. And that if we were able to get to our church or spiritual place more often, we would feel better.

Or maybe we have identified that we’re unhappy with our health. What activity would support us to improve this area of our wellbeing? Perhaps it’s a gym membership, or a commitment to walk daily with a friend.

Once we’ve identified what we need, we can look at how we can make it happen. What support do we need, to make it possible?

Support can come in many guises, once we’ve overcome any initial resistance to asking for help. Carers often share feelings of guilt when initially asking for help. But carers ‘further down the line’ advocate that asking for help is essential.

Once you have created your list of support needs, it makes a great document to take along to your Carers’ Assessment.

3. Start asking for help

Illustration of two people messenger chatting.

Now we know where we need support and what that support might look like, we can start asking for help.

We have lots of content which can help us to start building the support we need:

How can we best cope with the changing stages of our caring role?

We often hear carers talk about the ‘carer journey’. This can relate in a number of ways. From our emotional journey, such as denial, anger, resentment, acceptance and grief. But also to the physical and practical changes and transitions that we face.

With each change or transition triggering a new emotional journey.

There are some key transitions, such as ‘diagnosis’, ‘going into a home’, ‘going to a special school’ and even ‘end of our caring role’. And there are a myriad of smaller transitions along the way. Such as our Mum or Dad forgetting our name, our child not going to the residential, the installation of a hospital bed.

Each time, there is a new need to manage our feelings and hopefully reach acceptance and peace.

So how can we support ourselves with the changing stages of our caring role?

  1. Find your tribe. Creating a support network of other carers who ‘get it’ can be a great source of comfort.

  2. Pause to notice how we’re feeling.

  3. Allow ourselves time to feel any pain or sadness, and know that this is OK. Get support from your tribe.

  4. When we’re ready, we can use tools such as reframing and gratitude to shape our new world view.

  5. Prioritise self-care and self-love.

And remember that nothing lasts forever. Feelings pass.

You might also like

Carers' guide to respite

Carers' guide to Lasting Power of Attorney

Carers' guide to caring for someone with a mental health diagnosis

What's next?

If you’re feeling particularly low right now, please remember that you can book a free call with our carer support team. They are available seven days a week, until 9pm.

If you would like to take part in our monthly Mobilise Moment and receive bespoke support in your caring role, simply sign up to receive our email (which is also full of other amazing support for carers).