Stroke never just affects one person. It has a far reaching impact on families, friends and loved ones as well. A carer is anyone who gives support to someone who couldn’t manage otherwise.
From his many years of speaking directly to stroke survivors and carers on the Helpline, Stroke Association trainer Doug Youngson answers some frequently asked questions.
I’m thinking of becoming a carer for my parent. What should I consider?
Think about your emotional and practical needs. Many carers tell us that caring is exhausting. It might also change your relationships with your loved ones.
If the person you care for needs special equipment, ask the hospital or local council who will provide this and when. You may need training in moving and handling, so that you don’t injure yourself. Try keeping a diary. You may find this helps you identify where you need extra help.
I am a carer; what support is there for me?
The first step is to get a carers’ assessment from the local council where the person you care for lives. In England and Wales you can get an assessment whether you care full time, occasionally or will do in the future (ask your local council if you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland).
Generally, if your caring role is likely to have a significant impact on your wellbeing, you will be eligible for support. Most councils don’t charge for carers’ services, although some do. Support might include help with transport costs, help with housework or a respite break for you and the person you care for.
I don’t think I’ll be able to care for my grandparent. What options are there for us?
Sometimes family members can’t provide care. Perhaps you live far away or have other commitments, such as work or children. Perhaps caring is just not for you. It’s not selfish to be realistic about how much you can do.
The local council can put together a package of support which takes into account your loved one’s needs. This could include equipment, such as grab rails or a personal alarm, or carers to come in and help throughout the day. If someone needs a lot of support the local council may suggest residential care.