The Harrow Carers News Bulletin is produced every couple of months and contains all of the latest updates to help keep you informed about our work and upcoming activities.
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After taking some time to care for somebody, it can be difficult getting into the habit of having more free time to yourself and wondering how to get into work. There are a lot of emotions you might run into whilst trying to find a job, from worrying about the caring you were previously doing and how to fulfil your time, to wondering what it is you want to start doing again, it might perhaps be something brand new, or could be in an industry you have worked before?
To kick off your job search, whether it is paid or unpaid, it is worth reflecting on the skills you have gained from your role as a carer, and what it has taught you. Additionally, it is also important to highlight where you see your new role taking you, and thinking about the following questions:-
– how can you best apply these skills you acquired being a carer to the role you see yourself doing?
– when do you find yourself most happy? Take this into consideration when you are applying for new roles
– Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? Consider this both professionally, and personally
Once you have an idea of which avenue you would like to take, it would be helpful to research search various job profiles of what is usually required to then integrate into your CV and whilst talking to recruiters. Creating a LinkedIn profile is also super helpful, as you have direct access to jobs that are available and can also make yourself directly available to both relevant recruiters and companies who have roles available.
A few LinkedIn tips:-
– Always have a profile photo
– Change your settings to allow recruiters/companies to message you, should they have relevant roles available
– Write a short biography for your profile which aligns to the roles you see yourself fulfilling
Emotionally, it can be difficult getting back into work, and starting a new routine, especially after dedicating so much of your time to somebody else, however it is also important to look after yourself. It is important to find what is right for you and whilst job searching and beginning a new routine may be challenging, it will be beneficial in the long-run. This does not mean we dismiss any feelings of being nervous, scared and anxious, it does however, mean that we find ways of dealing with these negative feelings; this could be exercise, meditation, cooking, reading. Everybody is different, everybody is on their own individual path, and it is important to focus on yours, get yourself where you want to be, and enjoying the journey.
Getting back into work By Priya Tank
Working for Carers is a London-wide project that supports unpaid carers, aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. The project is led by Carers Trust and delivered by its network of partners across London. Working for Carers is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund.
As the nation is moving into step four of the easing of lockdown, the government is removing COVID-19 prevention measures as we try and return to normal life.
As of July 19th, wearing masks in most public spaces will no longer be a legal requirement but the government is still asking people to take caution and responsibility for keeping themselves and others safe from infection.
Guidance published by the government says they “expect and recommends that people continue to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces.”
This guidance also applies to factories, construction sites, offices and close contact services like hairdressers. Businesses will now be responsible for making and enforcing any face mask rules from Monday 19th July, if they deem necessary.
Here are some of the main operators and places that have specified their rules on face coverings:
Bars, pubs and restaurants
Pub chains like Wetherspoons have said customers are no longer required to wear masks, but they still require staff to wear face coverings in certain cases.
Other famous pubs like Greene King have promised that punters will be allowed to walk up to a bar and order a pint, without being asked to wear a mask. Both pubs also confirmed that they will no longer use the Test and Trace app to check customers for COVID symptoms.
Masks will also no longer be obligatory in public spaces. This means those dining at restaurants will be able to do so freely without wearing a mask.
Supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s will be encouraging workers and customers to continue wearing face coverings if they can. Others like Lidl will have signs at entrances to remind shoppers that mask wearing is recommended by the government.
How does removing the preventive measures affect carers?
All eligible unpaid carers are in Priority Group 6 and should have no been invited for a vaccine. If you are an unpaid carer, check here if you’re eligible for the vaccine.
Alternatively, give Harrow Carers a call at 020 8868 5224, and we’d be delighted to find out for you.
As a carer, it’s vital you receive support and you know what’s available to you.
You may also be entitled to additional benefits as a carer that you may not be aware of. Give us a call at 020 8868 5224 if you’re unsure, as you may be missing out on financial support.
You don’t need to feel guilty about accepting help. Remember that there is only so much you can do – try to accept that sometimes you may need help.
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
If you are a carer, it may be important to take some precaution measures as you don’t want to endanger the person you are caring for.
If you are also transitioning away from remote work, the government are offerring free PPE for COVID-19 needs to unpaid carers who don’t live with the person they care for. PPE is equipment that will protect you against health or safety risks at work. If you don’t live with the person you caring for, it is recommended that you wear PPE when delivering care.
Maintaining relationships with family and friends
Now that restrictions have been lifted, we may eventually want to connect with our friends and family again (not through Zoom anymore!)
Keeping in contact with your friends and family can be a great way to let off steam. You can talk about your emotions and what you’re going through. If you don’t feel like talking, you could catch a movie or even attend a fitness class.
As always. we’re always here to help. If you are a carer and unsure about how you’ll cope after the pandemic, call us on 020 8868 5224 for free consultation
Working for Carers is a London-wide project that supports unpaid carers, aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. The project is led by Carers Trust and delivered by its network of partners across London. Working for Carers is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund. Contact Working for Carers on 020 8868 5224 Ext 218/208.
Your caring role may one day come to an end. The loved one you’re looking after may need to move into a care home, need more support, or sadly, they may die. It can be a tough, because for so long they were the focus of your life. Whatever the circumstances, you may be surprised at how drastic of an adjustment it can be. It’s a good idea to start preparing for the future – we share ways of how to adjust to these changes.
If the person you care for needs more assistance
There’s many reasons why you may not be able to continue caring for someone. Their health may have deteriorated and you can’t provide the additional time and energy, or you may even have your own health issues. At this point, it’s wise to think about finding another system of care.
Firstly, ask your local social services department to carry out a care needs assessment – you may find that they are entitled to additional benefits compared to before. It’s recommended to also get assessed yourself, as you may be entitled to extra financial and physical support.
If they need more intensive care
If you find that the person you care for needs more intensive support, then you may need to consider moving them into a care home. You may no longer be able to provide care due to other responsibilities, and perhaps you feel you have let your loved one down. But your well-being is important too, and there’s only so much you can do.
Just because they move into a care home, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you stop being a carer. You may want to continue visiting the person and keep them company, or you may want to provide help whenever you can. It’ll help them get used to the new environment. If you still provide some care, again check with the local council as you may have access to additional carers’ rights and benefits.
If the person you cared for dies
The death of a loved one brings can bring about new feelings. You will naturally feel grief and loneliness from losing someone that was a big part of your life. If they were ill for a long time, you may even feel some relief. Everyone’s reaction and way of coping is completely different. Some find it easier to talk with friends and family who knew the person you cared for, so that you can all share happy memories. Others cope best on their own.
You may have to deal with the necessary practicalities, like organising a funeral or sorting out any financial issues. At Harrow Carers, we can offer advice about all of that and more. Give us a call at 020 8868 5224.
What happens now?
If your caring role has come to an end, naturally you would consider taking time off to recover, both mentally and physically. If caring was the main focus of your life, you may feel confused and a loss of purpose. You may also find yourself with lots of time on your hands but are unsure with what to do with it.
Before rushing into anything, be gentle and allow yourself to recover. Spend time with family and friends and do something you enjoy. It can help to reflect and look back on everything you’ve learned – all the good times you had and how well you coped. Think about all the skills you’ve developed and if there’s any opportunities out there to put them to good use.
When you’re ready, you may need to think about returning to work. You may want to return to the ‘normal’ life you had before caring or have a clean state, but have no idea where to start. That’s where we come in. The team at Harrow Carers can offer you individually tailored support regarding your career, application advice, interviews and much, much more…
Feel free to give us a ring at 020 8868 5224.
It’s natural for us to feel lonely, even more so during the pandemic. Having underlying health problems, additional caring responsibilities, or in the case of the pandemic, being physically isolated from others can all contribute. These are just some examples. There might not be a particular reason why you feel lonely and you don’t need to go looking for one. From all ages, people feel lonely for all sorts of reasons and find different ways to overcome it. Here are a few strategies that may help to combat loneliness.
Volunteering for a cause you believe in can make a real positive impact in your community. It can fight loneliness by increasing self-esteem, create meaningful experiences and allow you to meet people passionate about the same things as you. Additionally, helping those less fortunate than you can bring you a greater sense of gratitude for what you have in your life.
You can volunteer remotely or in real life, just be sure you’re working with others. Finding solutions together as a team can help you decrease loneliness.
Join a club
Whether it’s a book club, a workout session or a cooking class, joining groups based on your interests exposes you to new people and connections. Sure, it can be nerve-wracking to join a club for the first time, but you’re likely to find people who are welcoming and willing to help settle you in. Have a look through your local library to see what’s available, or explore virtual networking sites like Meetup.
Taking Care of Yourself
Maintaining good physical and mental health is more important than ever, especially when experiencing feelings of loneliness. Have a consistent sleep schedule and exercise regularly – the NHS recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week. Take regular walks in your local neighbourhood as an opportunity to slow down and reflect – use this time to also practice self-compassion. Try talking to yourself in a forgiving, kind and caring way; it’ll do wonders for your long-term mental health.
Learn a New Skill
Loneliness is usually something that is temporary, something all of us naturally experience when going through phases in life. Taking up a new hobby may help to distract yourself from those feelings of loneliness. Perhaps you want to learn a new language, or learn how to design websites. Whatever it may be, take some time to invest in yourself. Check out this website if you’re unsure of which skills to pursue.
Strengthen Existing Relationships
Humans have always been social creatures. Spending quality time with your friends and family is one of the best ways to reduce loneliness. Why not call up a loved one and tell them how great they are and how much you love their company. Be specific, mention what it is you love about them – it’ll make their day (and yours too!).
If you haven’t spoken to your loved ones in a long time, you might be struggling with motivation to reach out. Instead, it may be helpful to start slowly. Think of one friend or family who you could imagine reaching out to and give them a call. It’s so important that you make the first move.
At some point in our lives, we will feel lonely and it can be difficult to cope with. But there are things we can do to feel better, from volunteering and learning new skills to improving our connections with loved ones.
There’s also people who can help. Here are some amazing organisations and support groups that can offer expert advice if you’re suffering from loneliness or any other issues. If you’re a carer suffering from any mental health issues, we can offer you free advice and support at 020 8868 5224.
Anyone can fall into debt. As a carer, it’s just one of those things that happens without your notice, or may even feel as if it’s out of your control. You may have had to give up work and faced the extra costs of utilities, food and disability-related spending. Even so, getting out of debt and staying out is possible – but you have to take the first step. If you don’t know where to start, feel free to contact Harrow Carers at 020 8868 5224 for free advice about managing your debt. We’ll also let you know if you are entitled to any disability and carers’ benefits, or any employment rights if you are currently working. Nevertheless, here are some strategies you can start to implement today to get out of debt.
1. Understanding What Debt You Have
Understanding the type of debt you have, and how it happened can allow you to create a plan for paying it off and staying debt-free. Not all debts are created equally, and some are considered better than others (a mortgage, for example). At Harrow Carers, we can help you to understand your debt, create a budget to help track your expenses, and develop a debt repayment plan.
2. Tracking All Your Debts
It can be easy to lose track of how much you owe, especially if you have more than one type of debt. A debt tracker can be useful to regain control of your finances, and you can watch all your hard work pay off.
Make a list of all your debts. You can use a free pre-existing template or do it yourself on Excel. Write down how much you currently owe, the interest rate for each debt, and the minimum payment required for each month. Use recent billing statements, credit reports and bank statements to help you with this.
3. Prioritise debts with the highest interest rate
By listing all your debts, you can now calculate the total amount you owe. We can now accelerate your debt-free journey by sending more than the minimum payment to at least one of your accounts each month.
Use a monthly budget to calculate all your monthly income and expenses (including the minimum payments). Any amount left over, put some of it towards any of one of your debts. It’s recommended to choose the debt with the highest interest rate as this will save you the most money in the long run. Again, feel free to contact us at 020 8868 5224 if you’re not sure which debts to prioritise.
4. Building an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is money you’ve set aside for—you’ve guessed it— an emergency. While caring for a loved one, you might run into unexpected circumstances. Your car might break down or you may be laid off from work. As you work towards paying off your debt, it’s recommended to put money aside in a separate account as an emergency fund. If you are in debt, start saving towards £1000, but once out of debt, build this account to cover 3-6 months worth of living expenses. A completed emergency fund will give you the flexibility to tackle unexpected expenses, which makes it less likely you’ll go back into debt again.
You can read more about emergency funds here.
Becoming debt-free can be a difficult process, but there are lots of free and professional help out there. The most important thing is to take action now. Delaying to managing your debts and finances will only make matters worse in the long-run.
If you are a carer and struggling with your debts or have any other enquiries, don’t hesitate to contact Harrow Carers at 020 8868 5224 for free and independent advice.