Most of us play carer roles without even thinking of it. For instance, parents are carers for their children, grown children become carers of their parents, and people care for relatives and friends recovering from illness or an accident. Most of us play carer roles without even thinking of it. For instance, parents are carers for their children, grown children become carers of their parents, and people care for relatives and friends recovering from illness or an accident.
Over 700,000 people are personal carers for friends or family members who have a disability, mental health problems, are older and have care needs, or suffer from various chronic health conditions. Chances are you’ll end up taking a carer role or be cared for at a point in time.
Who is a ‘Carer’?
Defining this term can be quite tricky as it could mean different things to different people. It can refer to both unpaid and paid, ‘lay’ and professional carers. Some friends and family members may not see themselves as ‘carers’ as they may consider the role they are playing as part of being a supportive partner, mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, or even friend.
A carer can help a person in need be as comfortable, independent, and healthy as possible. This could be through providing someone in need with the help they need to stay connected to their community, or eat nutritiously, or be mentally and physically active. Some carers could even have to assist someone with personal tasks such as shopping, housework, and banking if the said person lives independently and is in need of help. Some carers have more intensive care roles where they assist the person in need with all his or her daily living tasks like bathing, dressing, feeding, taking medication, and going to the toilet.
Becoming a Carer
Taking on the role of a carer is often a big commitment – one that could mean giving up all other responsibilities or activities, and that includes avoiding other work opportunities, something that could significantly impact one’s financial stability.
When thinking of becoming a carer and if it is something you want to do, it will help if you took the time to consider asking yourself some of the following questions first.
- How in need of care is the person you are considering to help? Will he or she need you around for only a few hours a day or all night and day? Is there anyone else to help? Gabriel’s Angels are a reputed provider of carers who go to the homes of those in need of care tailored to specific needs.
- Are you able to support the person so he or she can keep on doing all the things he or she loves to do at home or in the community? Is there anyone else who can help
- Is there a way you can best support the person’s wellbeing, health and independence? The person’s interests and capabilities may change as time goes by, but maintaining their welfare, health and independence will always be crucial.
- What kind of care needs does the individual need? Is their need for help just for a few tasks like meals, laundry and taking medication, or do they also need so more basic needs met like help with showering, going to the toilet, eating, dressing? Can you comfortably provide the assistance they need?
Caring Can be Rewarding
- Satisfaction knowing that you’ve helped someone in need, enabling them to improve their overall quality of life
- Strengthens the relationship between you and the person you are caring for
- Provides an opportunity to develop new skills and room for personal growth
- It allows you to prove to yourself that you can face and handle new challenges
- Appreciation from the one you are caring for, and acknowledgement from friends and family
However, caring may also present some tough challenges, and they may include:
- The financial constraint associated with having to cut back hours or give up a paying job or career
- The physical and emotional toll related to looking after another person night and day
- A lack of satisfaction that you probably would have enjoyed or enjoyed working in a stimulating job or career
- Chances of developing health issues like depression, anxiety, or back problems
- The continuous, and rather taxing, nature of some caregiving roles
- A feeling of being isolated and missing out on the different social opportunities associated with leisure, recreation, and work activities
Caregivers play a crucial role in the society and create many economic and social benefits not only for themselves but also for the people they care for and the community at large.