January Priorities for Carers

The results are in from our simple monthly poll of carers. On the 4th of January much of the UK was put into a third lockdown. The vaccination programme is underway but the timeline to the end of the pandemic is not clear yet. What does this mean for us as carers?

The Headlines

Our concerns about the virus remain high. Increased infection rates, news of new variants and seeing the NHS stretched to capacity is a frightening time. Managing our own stress and anxiety continue to be a priority too.

Maintaining protection for those we care for from

the virus

As carers, we have been a little reassured by the latest lockdown measures. However our experiences of the virus now are closer to home, neighbours, friends and wider family have caught the virus despite lockdown restrictions.

"The cases in our area are so high and two sets of neighbours have had it, plus three teachers I know have caught it despite following precautions - the virus seems everywhere and to be no match for lockdowns or official advice even"
"I am worried about the rising number of cases and the fact that so many have no symptoms but can infect others"
"If the person I care for catches it they will probably die"
"I am concerned that outside carers may bring the virus into the house"

Long-term stress and anxiety

Our ability to "just keep going" is really being tested. Carers shared that the ongoing stress is now causing both physical and mental health problems of their own. As carers we are often caring for more than one person with different needs and needing to balance the risks and mental health implications for all, it is a fragile situation.

"This feels like it will never end!"
"Difficult time of year for me, Covid on top of this causing stress and lack of sleep"
"It's getting harder to keep mentally well"
"My blood pressure is now quite high, I've never had high blood pressure before"

How can we help ourselves?

At a time when most things feel out of our control it can be tempting to assume that no one cares and to avoid seeking support.

There are a few important things we can do now:

  • Ensure the GP knows about our caring roles and we are raising any health issues with them. And not waiting.

  • Registering with your GP as a carer will also help with getting the vaccine. Questions about the vaccine? Here's our helpful guide for carers.

  • Finding ways to release the pressure is important too, even small things can make a difference. Read our blog on 'Caring for yourself, when there is no time for yourself'.

  • Don't wait to ask for help. The perception can be that the system is too busy right now but this is the very real impact of Covid-19 and the sooner local support services and community organisations are aware of our needs the sooner they will be able to step in if needed. Not sure who to turn to? Find out more here.

  • Sometimes there might not be a practical or medical solution but talking things through with someone is a way to relieve the pressure, and sometimes we even find new options and ways forward. Book a call here.

Join other carers in a virtual cuppa or on our facebook group of unpaid carers to get support and find out what's helping others get through.