Most people can see and appreciate the extraordinary pressures placed on NHS and care staff throughout the pandemic and can recognise the contribution they have made. But there’s another group of people whose efforts, and the strains placed upon them, have been less well publicised and may be hidden from view.
The small army of informal caregivers have always tended to be the unsung heroes. Usually, they help to care for a family member so they can continue living in their own home. Their efforts tend to go unnoticed by people outside of their social group or those who are not part of the care system. The reality is that social care in the UK couldn’t function without them.
And over the last 15 months of social distancing and with placements for new residents being slowed down, informal caregivers have been called on to do even more. There’s no doubt that this will have placed enormous strain on some individuals.
Taking Care of Yourself is Also Important
Perhaps now is the time for caregivers to give themselves a break. This isn’t a case of rewarding yourself. It’s more about taking care of your own health and wellbeing after a very difficult time.
If you’re looking after an elderly relative who has been fully vaccinated, their risk of infection and illness is extremely low. They can very safely book a short period of respite care so that you have the opportunity to take a break and recharge your energy levels.
Perhaps it’s also worth thinking about regular support from a care at home or day care service. These services offer help with everyday health or personal care and could make caring for a loved one much more manageable. Just a few hours each week could help share the workload and give you a little more free time.