Carers Must Care for Themselves

Dear Editor,

Dear Editor,

I was thinking about the closure of respite beds at the Community Hospital of Assumption and how these words might help:

The most important part of caring for a loved one is to make sure that the carer cares for themselves. Caring for a spouse, sibling, parent, child, relative or friend 24/7, 7 days a week is an intensely stressful undertaking. Research from Caring for Carers shows that 41% of family carers say they are stressed, with 26% of family carers reporting back problems and 18% of family carers reporting depression. If a carer fails to look after themself, and succumbs to flu, or back pain, or fatigue, then their initial goal of providing loving, compassionate care to their loved one will be compromised.

Carers must ensure that they involve other people in the provision of care for their loved one, enabling the carer to have time for themselves. Carers must have time for themselves so that they can re-energise as well as get the hair done, visit the credit union, get the messages and so forth.

The respite service at the Community Hospital of Assumption in Thurles played an extremely important role in how carers planned time for themselves over a year. When their loved one was in respite the carer could plan a trip to visit other relatives, or carry out home improvements, or simply have time to rest themselves. Now that this service is curtailed, it is extremely important that family carers replace this respite service with something else. With Christmas approaching and families getting together, family carers must ask other family members what help they can provide. All families need a respite plan for the main carer. The consequence of not having a new respite plan is clear. The family carer will become exhausted sooner.

For information about how Home Instead Senior Care can assist with respite, please call 0504 91100. A free information guide “Running on empty, a guide to family carers” is also available.”

Yours Sincerely

Michael Wright

Managing Director

(Home Instead Senior Care)