The pandemic devastated the lives of carers in our community. They report increased levels of stress, anxiety, depression and isolation with a few sharing suicidal thoughts. There are also growing numbers who are grieving following the loss of the person they care for or other family members.
As wellbeing specialists for unpaid carers our services have been in greater demand and we are continuously adapting and creating services to meet changing needs. Within two days of lockdown we successfully delivered our first online class and have expanded our programme offering fitness, wellbeing and social activities across several digital platforms during the days and evenings.
To support mental and emotional health we delivered two mental health first aid courses, created a range of self-help workshops with our extended team which include complementary, art and psychotherapists and offered one to one support.
As soon as outdoor activities were permitted we utilised parks and outdoor cafes and even managed a seven week run at Brixton Rec when the gyms reopened. We also delivered one to one tech sessions enabling carers to stay connected.
‘Finding you has been a life-saver’
The first time we met Joan she collapsed onto the cushions in our chill out area and stayed there not talking for the rest of the session. We later found out she was exhausted, stressed and isolated due to juggling her career, family and caring for her 89 year old mother who had suffered a major stroke. She rarely got more than 4 hours sleep a night, was constantly on the go and struggled to find time for herself.
“Finding you has been a life-saver. You gave me time and space when I needed it and introduced me to so many new activities. It’s been truly inspirational. I feel like I have a new circle of friends who know the trials and tribulations that I’m going through. Being part of the group and attending classes has given me confidence and a lovely positive feeling. You’ve given me a little bit of Joan back. I really believe this helped to keep my attitude and mental health positive and upbeat regardless of the challenges of the last year”.
Whilst I enjoyed having me time I’ve also loved being able to involve my family. Bringing my daughter to the family sessions over the summer was great. She was afraid to leave the house so it was good for her to be able to exercise with me and meet other young people. Mum really looks forward to the online sessions, she loves it when you call her name to encourage her and tell her well done and puts me to shame when she does abs in her recliner chair. ”
For more information contact 07939 221 484 or www.carers4carers.com
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Paula Bryan, Co-founder/CEO Carers4Carers
Read here Carers UK report launched this Carers Week 2021 – June 7-13