Tips for carers, by carers

Adrian_Scope Posts: 11,298 Online Community Programme Lead
edited June 2019 in Families and carers

If you’ve just started caring for a friend or loved one, it can be a sudden and dramatic change, or it can happen very subtly and almost unnoticed. According to Carers UK, each day 6,000 people start caring and it can be a daunting prospect, but it can also become overwhelming for those of us who have been doing it for years. Today we’re sharing some tips and advice from carers for carers and hopefully some of them will make your days a little easier.

Implement structure: Having structure to each day helps give it purpose, promotes good habits and is vital for sleep patterns.

Stay calm: There are going to be hurdles. Things will rarely if ever go quite to plan, but keeping calm helps you be constructive and stay mindful of the important things.

Look after yourself: You’re just as important as the person you’re caring for. As @GoRowe said in his recent guest post, ‘…as a carer I spend so much time being aware of someone else’s needs, but for every week of every month from now on, I’m going to do my best to be aware of my own needs too.’ Take a page out of his book and take a moment for yourself.

Accept the role: You might not like the connotations of the word, but accepting the label of ‘carer’ means you can get the support you need. As @Katherine_OTMH said in her guest post, ‘Once I realised our lives would be different I always wanted to embrace it. To turn challenges into opportunities and to find happiness and fulfilment right where sadness or isolation could have easily set up camp.’

Find ways to make it easier: It can take a lot to get through each day, but simple things can make all the difference. In her recent guest post, @SerenaP said, ‘I purposefully and intentionally think of a minimum of three things to be grateful for each day.’

What advice would you give to a carer who is just starting out or has been a carer for years?


  • Ails
    Ails Community member Posts: 2,240 Championing
    Thanks for these great tips for Carers @Adrian_Scope.  These are really useful and I know my husband, as a Carer, will appreciate them when I share them with him.  One tip I would give is to make fun/relaxation time for each other, even if it is for a short period, when you can focus on doing an activity together such as watching a movie, playing a board game, doing some arts and crafts, doing a crossword/puzzle, etc.  Anything that takes you away from focusing on being the Carer and the one being cared for a period of time just to relax and unwind, recharge your batteries and aid your mental well-being as it is so easy just to get bogged down in everything about the caring situation.  A wee bit of relaxation can go a long way.  :smile:
  • April2018mom
    April2018mom Posts: 2,866 Championing
    I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before but here are my top tips for carers:

    1-Get exercise. Find a exercise class or ask a friend to go on a short walk with you. Find out about exercise classes for carers and sign up. I like to go for timed walks in a local park during the daytime. Swimming counts too. 

    2-Be prepared. Whenever I come home from a appointment I’m too tired to cook. So I eat leftovers. Or I order a healthyish takeout. I take a pen and notebook to all appointments so I can take notes. If I am flying I find out if the airport can provide special assistance and ask for letters from his doctors. 

    3- Take control. Apply for benefits. I rarely use it but I’ve found DLA money useful. It helped me pay for my boy’s first ever wheelchair. Find out about external support. More than anything adaptive equipment has been a lifesaver. Relax. Talk. I’ve always talked to my partner about any issues I need help with. 
  • CJM
    CJM Community member Posts: 9 Listener
    Hi, I've just started supporting a friend of mine who is a mum, wife and carer for her husband.  I've recently introduced them to MyLiferaft as a tool because it allows my friend to think about her needs (her account) and those of her husband who has a separate account but she shares information in this with the carers who come in twice a day.  Without having to meet them and talk with them whilst trying to get the kids to school she gives them access to read a journal entry that she has written in her own time.  they log in for free using their own account.  She also shares her husbands diary so the carers know exactly what he has on that day and who will be assisting him.  Keeping track of visits to GP, hospital, social workers are also logged and recorded so where ever she is she can access these records meaning she can always give the most up to date information which means the most appropriate response can be delivered quickly and efficiently.  What's more this company are offering carers a FREE Premium Licence for a year, normal cost £120.  Just create your account and add the Code Liferaft365.  You'll be able to set up your account from their website  They also have a completely FREE licence that is pretty good too.
  • SerenaP
    SerenaP Community member Posts: 3 Connected
    @Adrian_Scope, thank you for this reflective post, one of the things I’m not so consistent with and probably not very good at is looking after myself so I’m glad it was one of your top tips.  It did occur to me this week that I really need to take care of myself too, if I don’t, it means I’m not going to be at my optimum to care for my children and particularly my disabled son. I’m glad that you’ve highlighted this and I appreciate the tips from all those that have contributed such as @April2018mom. I will definitely be a lot more intentional now.