Released: 11 June 2019
The importance of short breaks for people who are regularly caring for family or friends cannot be underestimated this Carers Week.
Running from 10-16 June, this year’s campaign is focused on getting ‘carers connected’. One example of this is finding ways to relax and give people some well-earned respite support so that they can recharge their batteries and continue to look after loved ones.
A family or friend carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for someone who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support. Carers can be children as well as adults and the importance of taking a break is important for anyone looking after others.
Marlene Mitchell, who cares full-time for husband Ken who is living with early onset dementia, recently benefited from exactly this support. The couple enjoyed a weekend break at Roffey Park as part of the Short Break Services for Family and Friend Carers.
Earlier this year the county council and the NHS awarded contracts to a number of service providers for a further three years, demonstrating their commitment to supporting carers to receive the support they need. These services also help reduce social isolation that many carers can experience when they take on more and more caring responsibilities.
Marlene said: "At first I thought, 'oh yes it's a little break for me by myself’ but then I realised it was for Ken as well. We both came and I did feel as though it was a marvellous break for me because I didn't have to worry about Ken. There was someone here all the time looking after him, knowing exactly where he was, and he was doing things that he wanted to. I felt as though I had had my time to myself."
Vanessa Hasted, Carer Services Manager, Carers Support West Sussex said: “It is so important that carers recognise the need to take time for themselves; respite breaks improve health and wellbeing. Our team of Carer Wellbeing Workers are available to talk to carers on the benefits of taking time out to rest and recharge and will be able to signpost to one of our partner organisations to find the most suitable option in the local area.
Amanda Jupp, County Council Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said “Carers make a vital contribution to our communities and I would really encourage anyone who may find themselves supporting others to make sure they are in touch with our local services to get the best possible information and advice. It is often too easy for people to ignore their own needs as they focus more and more on those they care for.”
Paul McKay, West Sussex County Council’s Director of Adults’ Services, added: “These services offer support for those who need it most. We really value the contribution the many family and friend carers we have here in West Sussex make to their communities, and to the quality of life for the people they care for. I hope that more people will look into taking a short-break.”
See the Carers Support website for more information about respite care for family and friend carers or call 0300 028 8888.