Do you provide 'moments of care' for others?
There has been an exponential growth in 'people supporting people' since the Covid-19 lockdown began.
The Office for National Statistics estimates that some 48% of us have taken on some kind of additional care or support role since lockdown.
But what does that mean, and is that you? Is it someone you know?
You're unlikely to consider yourself a 'carer', but if you have found yourself regularly lending a hand for practical tasks, or offering frequent emotional support, it would be worth reading on.
Who are these people providing 'moments of care'?
This new army of 'helpers', are unlikely to identify themselves as carers.
We are neighbours, friends, sons, daughters, in-laws, siblings, aunts and uncles. Just simply doing 'the right thing' - supporting people we know, who are in need.
Picking up prescriptions, doing the shopping, checking in daily, going to the bank. Being the daily "up" to someone's "down", or always available on the phone. Being the "go to" for emotional support of someone else on a daily basis....
Is this you or someone you know?
"Data released to mark the start of Carers Week on Monday (6th June) estimates that 4.5 million more people are now caring for older, disabled or seriously ill family or friends as a result of the pandemic." ITV News
Why does it matter?
Many of us can 'up our game' and go the extra mile for a short period. But, what happens, when the short period extends, slowly, month by month?
"We move from running on adrenaline, to running on cortisol, our stress hormone."
How will we sustain ourselves? What conversations are we having about how we continue (or don't continue) giving the same level of support, as the world starts to open up or even goes back into lockdown?
How are we managing expectations and meeting everyone's needs?
Caring roles can creep up on us. Where are we getting advice on emotional resilience, on benefits we may be eligible to, how to balance caring with work, or in deed - how to 'get it right' as a carer.
How and when do we as people providing 'moments of care', slip into people providing 'regular care or support'?
Moving beyond 'Moments' of Care
Becoming a carer is an emotional journey. From the slow realisation that your relationship with the person you are caring for has changed. To accepting their disability, illness or simple ageing that is impacting the person you are caring for - especially when they're a family member or close friend.
You're juggling many emotions, whilst learning to do something new and juggling your own life too. What starts out as shopping lists to compile and buy, may shift to daily 'check ins', or preparing meals. Suddenly your time is competed for, the plates you're spinning multiply, and you just rush from one thing to another. Juggling your own life with these new caring responsibilities.
All whilst adjusting your own emotions to the new situation.
As carers, we know that running at constant speed leads to burnout. We know the importance of speaking with people who 'get it'. That the journey to becoming a carer can be emotional, rewarding and exhausting in equal measures. We also know that connecting with other carers, accessing a Carer's Assessment (try our quick mini assessment to get you started) and pausing to consider our own needs are vital to us being sustainable and resilient.
If you have recognised yourself or someone you know (likely new to caring since the pandemic), then please share this blog with them. You're not alone. And there are very good reasons to accept and acknowledge your caring role. To get advice and support, create an action plan and become sustainable.
Six Questions to ask yourself
Six simple questions. If you answer 'yes' to any of these questions, there is a high chance you're now providing 'moments of care', and it's important to accept the impact of this:
Are you getting shopping and/or prescriptions on a regular basis for someone else?
Are you supporting someone to leave the house? (such as for doctors' appointments, to go shopping, get a haircut)
Are you phoning or visiting someone on a frequent basis to 'check in' with them?
Are you missing work to help someone out?
Are you preparing meals, cleaning or supporting personal care for someone else?
Are you thinking of someone else's needs when planning your own days?
This list isn't exhaustive, but it does start to build a picture of the care you may be giving to someone.
What support can I access?
Firstly, it's important to understand that not everyone likes to be called a 'carer'. And that is absolutely fine.
But, secondly, it's important that you do acknowledge the work you're doing and that you will benefit greatly from some knowledge and support.
The Mobilise community is full of carers, just like you. There is a wealth of knowledge and empathy in our community, so please do get stuck in.
There are a number of ways to access support, and everyone will have their preferred method for accessing information and direct support. Mobilise have endeavoured to provide support, no matter what your preferred approach is. Direct? You got it! Community? You got it! Online tools to do by yourself? You got it!
"I would just like to say to anyone struggling or needing some direction or support to focus and unscramble anxious or muddled thoughts, lacking motivation or feeling overwhelmed ...the one to one call helped me enormously ...I spouted out all my anxieties and thoughts and Suzanne helped me focus and set a small goal to work on no pressure ....go for it you have nothing to lose in these hard times ...thank you so much"
Six Ways to Access Support
Look. Have a good look at the advice and support on our website. Start getting familiar.
Join. Our vibrant, friendly and very supporting Facebook community - full of carers just like you.
Sign-up. Receive our daily (or weekly) support bundle, direct to your inbox.
Take. Take our simple Carer's Assessment tool, and receive a bespoke, mini action plan of next steps for your new caring journey.
Book. Book a 1:1 call with our team (all carers themselves). Invite a buddy along for confidence if you like. Suzanne (our head of carer support) and her team can support you with a friendly ear, signposting for potential benefits, and is great at breaking down big problems into smaller, achievable steps.
Meet. Join one of our daily virtual cuppas! Meet other carers online, have a laugh, and make new friends. Bring a friend to your first one, if you're a little nervous. Laughter and tears are welcome - and we always finish on an uplift.
"Thank you so, so much for these wonderful daily emails. They are so balanced, warm and encouraging and it's become a habit for me to read your email before getting out of bed in the AM. Because they're just so supportive! At a time where the cared for and their carers become less visible, your emails remind me I exist."
"I thoroughly look forward to these cuppas, I feel no matter what I say to you, you don’t judge me, you don't criticize me and we have such a laugh at times" "We are all so diverse, so different ages, culture but with that common thread" "My uplift for each day is you"
Welcome to the Mobilise Community.