June 2018 – Staying Healthy and Connected. Carers Week 11-17 June


‘Staying Healthy and Connected’ Carers Week ­, 11- 17 June

Derbyshire has 118,000 unpaid carers, often with significant health needs of their own. That’s why we’re supporting Carers Week this month and raising awareness of the vital role they play in our society.

Carers face many barriers to keeping themselves fit and well and it’s a fact that 51% of them let a health problem go untreated. According to Carers UK, many carers are unaware of how or where to get help for themselves – this is where pharmacists may be able to help. Many of our pharmacies are Healthy Living Pharmacies and promoting Carers Week in Health Promotion Zones (HPZs) could be a great opportunity to highlight the support that carers can, and do, receive from community pharmacy.

This year’s theme is ‘Staying Healthy and Connected’ and the LPC has worked with Adult Care, Derbyshire County Council, and arranged for the following to be sent to every Derbyshire pharmacy:

  1. Pharmacy Poster for Carers Week for display in HPZs or other location
  2. “Walk a mile in my shoes” Poster to highlight the Carers in Derbyshire empathy project
  3. Healthy and Connected booklets for Carers to provide an overview of Derbyshire County Council’s services on offer to unpaid carers

For some people, caring comes on suddenly; a loved one is taken ill or has an accident; a child is born with a disability. For others, caring creeps up unnoticed; parents begin to struggle and find it more and more difficult to remain independent; a partner’s health gradually gets worse.

Also a lot of carers don’t think of themselves as being a carer. They just see what they do as a part of their relationship with the other person, and they regard themselves as a husband, wife, son, daughter, sibling, or just as a friend. Whatever the relationship it’s important that the carer looks after their personal health and wellbeing. This was highlighted in last year’s “State of Caring Report 2017”.

The report found that caring could have a significant effect on health, with the pressures of providing care taking a toll on both carers’ physical and mental wellbeing:

  • Three in five carers have a long-term health condition (compared with half of non-carers);
  • 7 in 10 said they find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, because of their caring;
  • 8 in 10 said they feel more stressed, because of their caring role;
  • Over half said they have reduced the amount of exercise they take, because of caring;
  • Nearly half reported that they have found it difficult to maintain a balanced diet or have suffered depression, because of their caring role.

For more information and ideas take a look at the Carers Week website: https://www.carersweek.org and for the “Walk a mile in my shoes – Carers Empathy Project”: http://www.carersinderbyshire.org.uk/walk-a-mile-carers-project.

The “Walk a mile in my shoes carers empathy project” where some local carers have had their stories recorded is particularly interesting. The stories are all very different and the carers talk about the good, the funny, the difficult, rewarding and most frustrating aspects of caring. Importantly, some have given advice for other carers or shared their hopes for the future. Why not have a listen? It could make a difference and help you realise that every carer has a unique story and that there are lots of ways you can help to make a difference.

Carers are valuable members of society, they do a lot for family and friends who are older, ill or have a disability, so why not do something for them to help them stay healthy and connected?