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An elderly personal alarm with automatic fall detection can detect a fall and call for help without you needing to push the button. This is vital is you are unconscious or immobile following a sudden illness or a fall. The call will automatically go through to either your nominated contacts or a SureSafe operator, depending on which service you have chosen. You will be able to get the help you need fast, even if you are unable to press the button.

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Caring for Carers: What Support is Available?

Article by Daniel Westhead Daniel Westhead Sure Safe Alarms

Caring for an elderly loved one is an immensely important but sometimes difficult task. The physical, mental and financial demands of caring can be considerable. Plus, carers might struggle to balance work and caring – or they might feel isolated or alone if they spend the majority of their time providing care to a family member.

That’s why it’s so important for carers to receive good support in all ways. Fortunately, that support is available from both the government and charities – and we’re here to explain how you can get it.

In this post, we’ll discuss support networks for carers, financial support, and other ways for carers to get help. So, if you’re a carer for an elderly loved one, read on to learn how you can take care of yourself as well.

National support networks for carers

When it comes to nationwide support, Carers UK is a great place to start. It’s a charity focusing on supporting unpaid carers.

Carers UK offers carers two ways to get support online. For emotional support, there’s Care for a Cuppa – a weekly Zoom meetup. Another option is Share and Learn, which are sessions more focused on practical tips for carers.

Carers UK also has a helpline, which carers can call for information, and an online forum where you can chat with other carers.

If you’re not sure where to start, you could also submit a question to the Carers Direct email help form.

Lastly, don’t forget to look for national organisations dedicated to a specific condition experienced by the person you’re caring for. For example, the Alzheimer’s Society has resources for carers of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Local support networks for carers

What if you’d like to find a support network that’s more local and specific to your region?

Well, Carers UK can help with that too. Just use their directory to find services in your area.

However, you can also try the Carers Trust, which runs the Carers Trust Network. This network is made up of local groups and organisations focused on caring. Use their search tool to find an organisation near you.

Age UK is another great place to start looking for support for carers. You can enter your postcode in their search tool to see if you have local carer groups nearby.

Social media support networks for carers

If you’re active on Facebook, that might be a great place to look for meetups and support for carers. You can try starting with the official pages of organisations we’ve already discussed, like Carers UK and Carers Trust.

Help from your local council

All this being said, there is quite a lot of help you can get as a carer from your local council – so it’s worth making sure you’ve sought or applied for all you could.

We’ll assume that the person you’re caring for has already had a care needs assessment and a home assessment. These assessments are done by your council, and they’ll ensure that the person you’re caring for has access to all the help they’re entitled to. You’ll also want to ensure that they have applied for Attendance Allowance, if they’re eligible.

When you’re certain that the person you’re caring for is receiving all possible benefits and council and government support, then it’s time to consider taking these next steps below.

Applying for a carer’s assessment

Yes, this is not the same as the care needs assessment! This assessment is for you, the carer, while the other assessments we’ve mentioned so far are for the person you’re caring for.

When you have a carer’s assessment, someone from the council will visit to see what could help you manage your caring better. That help might be in the form of advice or assistance from the council if you qualify for it.

Applying for carer’s allowance

If you provide care for thirty-five or more hours per week, and you aren’t spending much of your time on paid employment or education, you could be eligible for carer’s allowance.

But what is carer’s allowance? It’s a payment of £76.75 each week to the carer (not the person being cared for).

Note that there are quite a lot of criteria involved in eligibility, so be sure to check carefully to make sure whether you’re qualified or not. There are also some situations where you might not get the full payment. This could happen if your State Pension is a larger amount, since your carer’s allowance plus state pension can’t be more than £76.75 per week altogether.

Applying for carer’s leave

As you’ve seen, carer’s allowance is for people whose unpaid care work is essentially a full-time job.

In contrast, carer’s leave is for carers who are also employees. It doesn’t matter if you’re a part-time employee – you’re still entitled to this leave.

So, what is carer’s leave?

It’s simply unpaid leave for carers who need to take time off for caring. With carer’s leave, you get one week of leave for each twelve-month span.

One great aspect of this system is that you don’t have to take the leave all at once. For example, if you care for an elderly parent who needs to be taken to medical procedures, you can take a single day rather than the full week.

However, carer’s leave can be a bit tricky for two reasons. Firstly, you need to know that “one week” of leave means as much work as you do in a week. So, if you work one day a week, you get one day of leave.

The other important detail is that you have to give your employer a certain amount of notice. The longer the leave, the more notice you have to give. To learn more, see our post on carer’s leave.

Other ways to help carers get rest and peace of mind

It’s always great when carers find options that can help make the hard work of caring a little easier.

One option like this for carers is respite care. This is short-term care that allows a usual carer to take a small break from caring. Carers can find that being relieved of the worries of caring for even a day or two can be immensely refreshing.

Sometimes an older person might be able to stay in a care home for just a short while – that can be a form of respite care. Day centres, such as those from Age UK, also allow carers to take a break from caring.

Another option is to let technology do some of the work for carers. For example, home cameras could provide support to a carer by allowing them to go out without worrying about the wellbeing of their elderly parent.

And let’s not forget personal alarms, which can provide crucial support to both carers and elderly people by providing peace of mind. When an older person is wearing a personal alarm with a one-touch button, their carer can feel reassured that the elderly person can call for help if they need it. That’s important for older people who are at risk of a fall or another medical crisis and might not be able to get to a phone if an emergency occurs while they’re alone.

Automatic fall detection is another feature specifically focused on the risks of falls. Personal alarms with this feature can tell when their wearer has fallen and will call for help all on their own.

How SureSafe also works to let older people remain in their own homes

In conversations about caring, people often discuss the card you get on an aeroplane that tells you how to manage an emergency. The card tells you that if you’re with a child and the oxygen masks drop, you need to put your own on first. That’s because if you try to put the child first, you might end up too unwell to help either yourself or the child.

In other words, carers need to prioritise their own well-being so that they can provide the best possible care.

It’s true that caring can be tough at times. And that’s exactly why carers need to ensure they get the best support – including emotional support, practical support from their council, and a little peace of mind from technology like elderly personal alarms.

That’s one reason why we at SureSafe feel personal alarms are so valuable. Whether an older person opts for a wrist alarm or a talking pendant, they and their carers can rest a little easier. They know if something drastic occurs while the carer isn’t close by, the older person won’t be unable to access help.

If you’re wondering whether a wrist or pendant alarm would be right for your loved one, or if you’d just like more details about all that personal alarms can do, Just give us a ring on 0808 189 1671 – or you can use our live chat or request a call back.

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