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Tips to help you care better in 2016

28th January 2016

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

As a carer, you’re likely constantly ‘on call’ looking after your loved one or otherwise. With all focus attentively on the ‘patient’, are you making enough time to look out for number one too?

As well as helping your relative carry out day-to-day tasks, from grocery shopping to discovering where you can find stairlifts for sale, you need to enjoy time to simply bond and take a break from the formalities of care.

The New Year presents an opportunity to take stock of your own health and skill needs, and in doing so, make sure you continue to provide excellent care in 2016.

Follow our simple guide to caring better this year.

 

Health check, you not them

We’re talking about monitoring your own health and keeping an eye on the health of your performance as a caregiver. Both are vital to making sure that you remain fit and happy while providing care.

If you’re entering the care profession make sure your employer completes a full assessment of your abilities before you begin work. This is an opportunity to highlight any duties which you may not be able to fulfil, as well as identifying the areas where your work could be supported to enable you take time away from your work and providing the care role if necessary. Support might include assistance care, organised respite and emotional support, offered from a local group or carers centre. Sitting services can also help when you need to be somewhere else momentarily.

Once you’ve started in your new position, you need to ensure that you take breaks as advised, attend all training sessions and learn from the experience of others in the field. Remember you can ask for help when you need it, so take advantage of this support network.

When you’ve got the basics of your role down to a t, you can start assessing the moments when your practice worked well and try to determine what made them successful to repeat again. Some simple tips may include keeping structure with the person you care for, it could be that they thrive when a routine is set in place. You should listen attentively to everything they tell you and non-verbal communication is just as important. Facial expressions or gestures can be just as informative as words so over time you should pick up the indicators in these and act on them.

Caring for someone can be demanding and draining so to ensure that the support provided by the carer does not break down the relationship with a loved one. They must have time away for themselves. For family members or friends taking on the care responsibility, there are a number of voluntary organisations that are on hand to offer advice and relief.

Taking a break may seem indulgent but in order to protect your own wellbeing, you need to take time away every so often to recuperate and focus on the tasks in your own life before resuming your role.

Providing advice whether for domiciliary care providers or to those looking at care home options, My Care My Home suggests the following to those new to care:

  • Take your time. Rushing can result in the individual becoming frustrated, unhappy and noncompliant
  • Show respect at all times
  • Keep to a routine
  • Use encouragement and promote independence by getting them to do as much for themselves as they can
  • Never criticize someone if they are struggling to complete tasks
  • Be patient
  • Be caring
  • Maintain eye contact and show an interest at all times 

Quality time

The daily challenges of caring for a loved one often takes precedence over simply enjoying one another’s company. Whether you’re researching rise recliner chairs for them or helping to fill out paperwork, it’s taking essential time away from this.

While it’s so easy to become bogged down in formality and your role as a carer, it’s vital to remember the more important relationship the two of you share. Make time for one another, away from any tasks attached to this support and start building memories together.

Kathy from the advice platform When They Get Older has a few words of wisdom to share:

"Leave the chores and get out of the house as often as possible. Go for a drive together. Take a walk. Spend time duck-watching at the local pond or people-watching at the local café. Do it together as people enjoying each other's company rather than carer and cared-for - and remind yourselves regularly that there's a world outside that's nothing to do with medications or appointments or washing machines." 

Helpful resources

We can all do with a helping hand sometimes and carers can rest assured that there is support out there for them, whether it aids daily jobs, helps families make decisions about the future or care workers on to achieve new levels in their career in 2016.

To this end, The Relatives and Residents Association has created The Keys to Care document to help prospective relatives and their loved ones build an effective care plan that they can hand over if they choose to move into a residential facility.

Naturally any family member will have concerns when their relative enters a new and unfamiliar care environment. Sheila, of The Relatives and Residents Association, explains why taking the time to plan ahead can make sure everyone is happy and confident with this decision:

“Perhaps the most essential thing to get right is the care plan, which the resident and their family must be fully involved in compiling.  The care plan should contain all the information that staff need to provide the resident's day-to-day care.”

Having your input recognised early on and a document that includes instructions for a number of scenarios drawn up, can help to reassure families that their loved one is being given the attention they require, especially if they can’t always be on hand to offer this care themselves.

For professional carers wanting to give their career development a little boost this year, attending industry exhibits is a great way to pick up a few new tips and learn about the important topics affecting their work.

Specifically organised for moving and handling professionals, Naidex 2016 is set to demonstrate the latest technology innovations and leading insight to carers attending in April.

Held at Birmingham’s NEC over three days, the first day will focus on trade and healthcare professionals only with the remaining days open to consumers. During this time attendees will hear from the event’s key note speakers during their conference sessions and have the opportunity to browse products from over 200 exhibitors in the Naidex marketplace.

Naidex 2016 will also offer carers the chance to network and share knowledge with peers and fellow professionals, helping them to gain support from the people who’ve experienced caring first hand and apply newly learnt lessons to their own work this year.

Whether care is a career or you’ve voluntarily opted to care for a loved one, taking better care of yourself, knowing what help is available and remembering to make quality time for one another, can only help you care better in 2016.