Information Now

Info NOW mail feature issue – carers special

31st August; Our feature issue: are you a carer? Information and support available

Do you think you are a carer?

Statistics show us that you can be a carer at any age, but do we think of ourselves as such? Are we prepared for this role and do we know what support is available to help us as informal carers of family and friends?  In this edition, we wanted to help you think about your role as a carer for family and friends, signpost you to local resources and highlight the information on Information NOW.

There is little doubt that more and more of us are informally caring for our family and friends. According to Carers UK, 1 in 10 adults (7 million) are carers and a third of informal carers are aged 65 and over, while the number of those aged 75 and over has increased by 35% since 2001.  In particular, it is now noted that those aged 54 to 65 years are often looking after grandchildren as well as an ageing parent.  Others are working, looking after their own children and their older relative or friend.  There is also evidence that people retire early to care for someone, often affecting their future financial security.

Data from the Newcastle City Council Carers Survey 2016 also demonstrates that the number of hours caring has risen between 2014 and 2016 by 21% to 50 to 99 hours a week. Predicted trends for Newcastle show that the number of older people (over 65 years) providing unpaid care will increase over the next 15 years by a third and those over 85 years providing unpaid care will increase by 50%.

Also notable is the fact that 42% of carers have missed out on financial support as a result of not getting the right information and advice earlier. 57% of these missed out for more than two years. In the Carers UK State of caring report 2018, they comment that out of a total of 7,397 carers and former carers, 72% had suffered mental ill health  and 61% physical ill health as a result of their caring role.  There is further evidence that carers are financially worse off when they no longer care – they have given up working full time or moved to part time work, they are supporting their children and their pension does not provide enough to live a good quality life.

In June, the Government published its Carers action plan for 2018 – 2020 and it contains some measures that Carers UK has campaigned for including:

  • a review of dedicated employment rights for carers
  •  an innovations fund to develop new ways to reach carers with information earlier
  •  and training for NHS staff to better support carers.

At the present time it does not commit to further financial support for carers.

Read on to find out about resources and support that you can access in Newcastle.

Help and support available – Newcastle Carers announce details of their services

Newcastle Carers  has announced that they have been awarded the carers support contract for Newcastle.  This is a jointly commissioned contract by Newcastle City Council and Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group which will begin on 1st November 2018.

Many of you will know that they have provided adult carers services for many years. The new service will address the needs of all carers, regardless of age, therefore providing an integrated service for both young and adult carers.

Newcastle Carers will offer you support, guidance and advice. See their resources below.

Looking after your wellbeing

When you are caring for someone else, it is very easy to forget about your own health. However, it is important to look after yourself so that your own health doesn’t suffer.  Let your doctor know that you are a carer and how it affects your health. Ask for this information to be noted on your medical record, so that your GP surgery can provide you with suitable help.  You may need to arrange respite to allow yourself to re-energise with a break from your caring duties.  Respite should enable you to do something you enjoy or something that makes you feel good whilst ensuring that your family member or friend is cared for safely.  Options include:

You may need to arrange a carers assessment  or seek advice from Newcastle Carers to help you manage your finances and find support that meets both your needs.

Keeping fit will help you combat stress related to caring. It is also important to consider what you eat and drink.  Take a look at the Information NOW articles on Healthy eating and drinking and Keeping physically active.

Carers support

As we indicated earlier, Newcastle Carers is an independent charity that offers resources and confidential advice and support to help you manage your caring role.  You don’t always need to plan ahead and make an appointment; Newcastle Carers want you to be able to access their services wherever you are.  Follow this link to find a drop in that may be convenient to you.  Options include: Byker, Gosforth, Lemington, West End.  They also have a series of Carers cafes that you can attend for informal support, advice and respite.

They also offer individual support and you can make an appointment.  Listening Link is a telephone support service for carers in Newcastle. It links you to a volunteer who will call you regularly to offer a listening ear, particularly at a difficult time.

Housing and adaptations to suit your needs

There are a wide range of options when you are considering how best to care for someone. You can look at housing options and housing adaptations to keep them safe and independent and make sure repairs are done to prevent accidents as well as organise home care, perhaps making use of attendance allowance.

Information NOW has a number of articles with a handy directory of organisations listed on the right hand side to help you.

You could also look at  First Stop for advice on care and housing.

Silverlinks and Carers UK have created a new guide for carers about housing and related care options available for older people in later life. The guide includes information on a range of options and the push and pull factors to take into account when making decisions about housing.

Managing someone else’s affairs

If you are a regular carer for someone who couldn’t manage without your help, it may be helpful to plan ahead and find out how they would like their finances or personal situation to be managed if they were unable to manage themselves.

There are some legal arrangements that you can make that can give you the power to make decisions and manage the person’s finances or health and wellbeing if you ever need to. This is called  Power of Attorney.  This is a legal document that needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian by you/your chosen attorney or your solicitor.

You may also want to register for The British Red Cross Carer’s Emergency contact scheme.  They provide a rapid response and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including bank holidays.

Once you register for the Carer’s Emergency Contact Scheme you will be issued with a contact card – you will need to keep this in your wallet or purse so it can easily be found in case you are unable to tell a GP or a member of the Emergency Services that you are a carer.

#We Care Too

Newcastle Carers has launched a brand new awareness raising campaign, designed and created by a group of young adults with a caring role to raise the profile of carers in the city. The campaign has been funded and supported by NHS England North and highlights what it means to be a young adult carer; raising awareness of the information, advice and support available for all carers in Newcastle. The aim of #WeCareToo is to encourage other carers in similar situations to find out more about the help that is available. The campaign, which includes billboards, posters, bus-stop banners and leaflets, became live throughout the city from 13th August.

Opportunities to get involved

Newcastle Culture Plan Survey

On Friday 20th July, a consultation event was held by the City Council about the development of a new Cultural Plan for Newcastle. About 60 people attended and the Elders Council was represented. Many people who might have wanted to be there were unable to make it. This link  asks the same questions that were asked at the event and this is the first phase of consultation to help shape the plan.

In addition to the survey, they would welcome any other observations you might have about what they should take account of while they’re developing the plan – strengths, weaknesses, priorities…and anything else you’d like to say. Send those thoughts to Andrew Rothwell.

What’s new on Information Now

You can now register and save a calendar of events to your shortlist.  Each event that you are interested in will be saved in date/time order.  You can email the table of events to someone as well.  We hope you enjoy this new feature.If you want to know more about how to get the best out of Information NOW for your  charity, colleagues, staff, then please contact us for a demonstration.

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Next week
The Grainger Writers Group

Last updated: March 14, 2019

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