People in Fylde and Wyre who are relied on to look after others are being urged to take care of themselves.

There are an estimated 23,000 carers across Fylde and Wyre who look after family members or friends who depend on them for varying degrees of support.

The call comes as NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) looks to support the national Carers Week campaign, which began on 6 June and runs until 12 June.

The campaign raises awareness of caring, highlights the challenges carers face and recognises the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.

Dr Tony Naughton, clinical chief officer at the CCG and a Thornton GP, said: “Carers make a fantastic contribution to the health and general mental wellbeing of people across the country – and many of them don’t even recognise the fact they are a carer.

“And yet their selfless attitude of putting others first could be problematic if carers do not make sure they look after themselves.

“It can be very demanding having to care for family or friends, but if a carer becomes ill it isn’t just they who suffer, but the person they care for as well. 

“I would urge all carers in Fylde and Wyre to stop and think if they are spending enough time looking after themselves and if they are not, then start to do so.”

Dr Naughton suggested that carers in Fylde and Wyre bear in mind the following:

  • Get enough sleep – Long-term lack of sleep increases the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, as well as making you feel depressed, so try to make sure you get a good night’s sleep.
  • Look after your back – Lifting can cause extra strain on your back, so make sure you take advantage of any training opportunities available and be mindful of your posture.
  • Tell your doctor – If you haven’t already done so, tell your GP that you are a carer and this will be recorded on your records. This will make it easier for your doctor to understand your needs.
  • Flu jabs – When winter comes, make sure you are vaccinated against flu as if you get ill, you won’t be able to look after anyone.
  • Take a break – Try to take some time to relax either for the day, a short break or a full holiday, either with or without the person you are caring for.
  • Stress, depression, guilt and resentment – These are all feelings that carers can be vulnerable to and it is perfectly natural, but there are ways to deal with them. Make yourself aware of the support on offer and use it. Talking to someone can do you the world of good.

Notes:

  • NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is the organisation responsible for planning and buying health services in the area to meet patients’ needs. This is known as ‘commissioning’.
  • Led by family doctors (GPs), the CCG currently serves a population of 152,000 people across approximately 320 sq km of coast and countryside. The majority live in the urban towns of Fleetwood, Thornton, Poulton-le-Fylde, Kirkham and Lytham St Annes, but a significant proportion live in rural villages.
  • The CCG receives a set amount of money from the government and is committed to spending this wisely for the benefit of local people.
  • Giving you more choice is a priority of the modern NHS. More information is available at fyldeandwyreccg.nhs.uk/choice
  • The NHS Constitution sets out your rights as an NHS patient: nhs.uk/choiceintheNHS/Rightsandpledges/NHSConstitution/Pages/Overview.aspx
  • There are many ways to get involved in health service developments, including joining our Influence membership scheme or your practice’s patient participation group.

About Carers Week 2016

Carers Week will take place from 6–12 June 2016, across the UK.

Carers Week is an annual awareness campaign which takes place to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the UK’s 6.5 million carers. It is also a time of intensive local activity with thousands of events planned for carers across the UK.

Carers Week is made possible by Carers UK joining forces with Age UK, Carers Trust, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, Motor Neurone Disease Association and MS Society.

Carers Week is kindly supported by Sainsbury’s, Nutricia and the Lockwood Charitable Foundation.

Website:          www.carersweek.org

Twitter:            @CarersWeek

Facebook:       www.facebook.com/CarersWeek

YouTube:        www.youtube.com/user/CarersWeek

 

What is a carer?

A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, mental health problem or who needs extra help as they grow older.

For some, taking on a caring role can be sudden: someone in your family has an accident or your child is born with a disability. For others, caring creeps up unnoticed: your parents can’t manage on their own any longer or your partner’s health gradually worsens.

The amount and type of support that carers provide varies considerably. It can range from a few hours a week, such as picking up prescriptions and preparing meals, to providing care day and night.

Caring will touch each and every one of us in our lifetime, whether we become a carer or need care ourselves. Whilst caring can be a rewarding experience, it can also have a damaging impact on a person’s health, finances and relationships.

To find out how you can get support in your caring role, visit: www.carersweek.org/support

 

Facts about carers

  • 5 million people in the UK are carers; that’s 1 in 8 adults
  • By 2037, it is estimated that the number of carers in the UK will rise to 9 million
  • Every day another 6,000 people take on a caring responsibility – that equals over 2 million people every year
  • 58% of carers are women and 42% are men
  • Carers save the economy £132 billion per year, an average of £19,336 per carer
  • Over 3 million people juggle care with work, however the significant demands of caring mean that 1 in 5 carers are forced to give up work altogether