Katie, an Elunow caregiver, discusses how we can support those who need it as a society.
I have been a caregiver for around one year and have listened to many stories of those I’ve been supporting. We are all responsible for our own wellbeing, and by eating well and taking some daily exercise we can improve our general health and fitness to make things easier as we age. But as we get older, inevitably things get harder to do. For some, families are close at hand who can help. But it’s more common these days for family members to live separately, often many miles apart, which makes daily help more challenging.
Whilst local authorities, the NHS and other organisations are there to help and try to ‘plug the gaps’, social care isn’t free and so the burden of care often then falls to on one or more members of the family. That can place an unnecessarily strain on those carers, as they try to balance looking after an elderly relative with their own busy lives. Perhaps they have their own young family, or they work fulltime, or even both. And so, it becomes harder to provide that care every day without impacting the lives of other family members.
Often, a person may not need help all day from a live-in carer. It may be enough for the caregiver to go once a day to check that medicine has been taken and food eaten, that the home is tidy and to have a chat over a cup of tea. Just this small amount of help, perhaps for a couple of hours each morning, is enough so that people can continue to live fulfilling lives in their own homes. When you care, every day makes a difference.