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Becoming a Carer

It is estimated that around three in five people will, at some point in their lives, have to care for someone close to them. Currently in the UK, there are seven million carers. This averages out at one in ten people. Becoming a carer can be challenging, no matter the circumstances. But when it is unexpected, it can be even more difficult. You may not know what to expect, especially if you haven’t cared for someone before. In order to help, we’ve pulled together some helpful tips on how to face the unexpected challenges of becoming a carer.

1. Managing your money

Sometimes, becoming a carer can be fiscally difficult. For example, if the person you are caring after also requires at-home nursing care, this can be very expensive. Sometimes, this can lead to you needing to take more time off of work, or possibly give it up completely, in order to give the correct amount of care required. However, this can have serious ramifications on your household income, either reducing it or stopping it altogether. However, there are things you can do to stay on the right financial track. One option is consider whether to move the person you are caring for into the same house as you. In some cases, this then frees up additional time and money, in the form of some bills and expenses, like groceries and petrol. With these being reduced, you can try and stay on top of your finances.

2. Adapting the home

If you do decide to move the person you are caring for into your house, or if they already live at home with you, you may find that you need to adjust your home. This doesn’t always have to be a huge change, but it is definitely something you should be aware of.

Certain home adaptations can be quite easy. For example, you may need to accommodate a wheelchair or a person with limited mobility. If this is the case, then something as simple as rearranging the furniture can be a real lifesaver. Make sure that you have ample room to manoeuvre around the house, especially in key areas like hallways, the living and dining room, and both the kitchen and bathrooms.

Sometimes, these adaptations can be a bit more permanent. Relatively simple things such as the addition of grab bars in key areas, widening the door frames, and making the kitchen more accessible can mean the world to someone in full time care.

Larger changes to the house may also be required. This can be especially true in the bathroom. Those in care often want to keep as much independence as possible, and having a bathroom that allows them to be independent can be a real gift. Mobility bathrooms can truly transform the life of someone in full time care.

3. Sharing the duty

As with anything, you should never try and do it all by yourself. One of the biggest issues when becoming a carer is time. A lot of your time will be taken up caring for another person, which can massively eat into your free time.

If you have a family of your own to look after, it’s key that you involve them in this process. Make sure that you communicate with them to ensure that they know you are busy, but that you’re not neglecting them. It’s important to make sure that you make time for them as well, whilst also caring.

Make sure that you are not the only person who is caring for the person you’re looking after. It is important that everyone has a rest, so see if there are other people you know – for example, relatives – that can help out sometimes.

Communication is the biggest key here. By communicating honestly and openly, you can help make sure that caring does not become the big beast that it is supposed to be.

Becoming a carer can be difficult, but knowing what is expected and what sort of challenges you are facing can really help the entire process become a lot easier. By knowing what you are going to face, you can prepare yourself much better and take the stress out of a lot of areas.