With an ageing population, many of us are looking after an elderly or seriously ill loved one more than ever before. Whilst taking care of a loved one can be rewarding it can also be a challenge, sparking a rollercoaster of emotions.
New research by Lottie has found a surge in carers struggling to cope with the emotional strain of being a carer – with more carers than ever before seeking advice over the last 12 months:
- 450% increase in online searches for ‘I want to stop being a carer’
- 100% increase in online searches for ‘carer’s guilt’
- 100% increase in online searches for ‘I hate being a carer’
- 21% increase in online searches for ‘carers fatigue’
“Carer’s guilt is a cycle of mixed emotions of resentment and guilt and is something that is experienced by many carers. This can be resentment that their life is no longer how it was and guilty for feeling this way – often these feelings can be overwhelming”, shares Will Donnelly, Care Expert and Co-Founder at Lottie.
“It’s no surprise we’ve seen a surge in carers seeking emotional support – 1 in 8 adults are a carer for a family member or loved one, with many juggling employment, the cost of living and any other commitments. They’re at risk of burnout – a mental and emotional condition – every day.
Similarly, carer’s are often at greater risk of isolation as they may give up previous hobbies or make lifestyle changes to arrange caregiving responsibilities. This can often leave carers feeling alone in their caregiving duties, triggering feelings of carer’s guilt.
Carers in a professional setting, such as care homes are also at risk of experiencing carer’s guilt, which can often lead to many employees experiencing carer’s burnout in the workplace and increasing staff turnover. This is where care homes must make a positive impact to support the wellbeing of unpaid carers taking care of their elderly relatives as well as their own employees.”
A practical toolkit for care homes: How to support a caregivers and their elderly relatives
Caring for a loved one can be challenging, so it’s important carers are able to take regular breaks from their caregiving responsibilities. There are different types of respite care and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to accessing and receiving respite support.
1. Get to know residents and their loved ones
Seeking additional care support can be an overwhelming decision, however by getting to know the resident, their carers and family members will help to ease any feelings of anxiety or worry.
Taking the time to get to know residents and their families will help you to understand their background, their unique care needs, likes and dislikes – helping you to provide personalised respite care; and allowing carers to get the break they need.
2. Work with carers to create a care plan for their loved one
Everyone’s care needs are different – care home staff will work with family members to create a personalised care plan that meets the elderly care needs of their loved one. A care plan makes sure the wishes, views, and preferences of those in need of care are listened to and can help ease the decision to seek additional care.
Discuss with carers the different option of respite care your home provides, through a practical and informative conversation to help them decide with their loved one the best style of respite care option for them.
3. Allow carers to stay involved
Allowing an open-door policy for family members to visit their loved ones during a temporary respite stay at a care home will ease the transition. Care home staff will be trained to be comfortable with the presence of friends and family of a resident in a home.
Similar, using technology to stay in touch can help both residents and carers to feel supported during a respite stay.
4. Create a support network for carers
Offer support to families and carers, for many the decision to seek additional support with their caregiving responsibilities can trigger a range of emotions. Let them know it’s okay to seek help if they’re struggling and you’re here to work with them to look after their loved one’s unique care needs.
Creating family and friend support groups for residents at your home can allow those in similar situations to connect.
5. Provide practical and emotional support to your employees
Being a carer is a very rewarding career, however these rewards don’t come without any stresses or challenges. care home management but place emphasis on the wellbeing of their team to ensure carer’s feel supported in the workplace.
From providing practical support, such as creating your own carer’s policies for those workers juggling multiple caregiving commitments, to offering emotional support on a daily basis, (including encouraging your employees to open up about how they are feeling or creating support groups within your workplace) – there are small steps care home management teams can take to support their staff.