Providing care for a loved one should not cost carers their mental and physical health. Sadly however we know that caring can be emotional and physical draining and many carers experience significant stress caused by the nature and extent of their caring responsibilities.
Carers tell us that it is very difficult to look after their own health and the day-to-day physical demands of caring can have a significantly negative impact. Many are already living with long-term conditions of their own.
The impact of caring is not just physical, carers tell us they have increased levels of anxiety, depression, stress and poor sleep patterns; these are often intensified by social isolation and loneliness.
Here are a few things you should think about:
As a carer, eating a balanced diet is essential to provide your body with all the nutrients it needs. A balanced diet will keep your body strong and give you enough energy for yourself and help you to provide the best care for the person you are caring for.
Factsheet: Healthy eating
Try to get some exercise when you can, even though time is precious. Hillingdon Carers offer a range of exercise programme’s that are free to carers and that cater for all abilities.
Make sure you get regular check-ups from your doctor
It is sometimes hard to find the time to visit the doctor for your own health needs but it is important to do so. If you’ve got a symptom you’re concerned about, get it checked out quickly, don’t leave it to get worse.
Look after yourself emotionally
Caring can be hard sometimes, and many carers can get depressed or anxious. Speak to someone - us, other carers, friends or family members - about how you feel. Tell your doctor if you’re feeling low and ask what help they can give you. Hillingdon Carers offer a free counselling service and a therapeutic care programme in partnership with Harlington Hospice.
Factsheet: Managing anxiety and depression
Ask others to help
Many people want to help but don’t know how. Give them specific things you need doing and specific times you need them to come; They may well be pleased to be asked.
Make sure you get a break, even for a few hours
Breaks from caring will help you recharge your batteries. Use this time to follow your own interests if you can, rather than doing chores like grocery shopping. You may be able to get some funding to help you to do this. Speak to us about what’s available or ask for a Carers Assessment.
Get a good night’s sleep
We understand this is sometimes easy to say and difficult to achieve. However, getting plenty of rest is important to your long-term health and well-being.
Factsheet: Better sleep
Don’t become isolated or feel alone
Get in touch with other carers or other people with interests similar to yours. We have five Carers Cafes around the borough. If it’s difficult to get out, you could join an online group if you have access to a computer.
Factsheet: Loneliness and social isolation
What is Leisure Link?
The Hillingdon Leisure Link provides savings on leisure activities to a wide range of concessionary groups.
From as little as £2, you are able to use any of the leisure centres in the Hillingdon borough. Click here for more information.