Date published: Thursday 16th January 2020 | 10:21 GMT
We have launched a new support group for locals caring for a relative
St Clare Hospice is launching a support group for local people within West Essex and East Herts, who care for or support a friend or relative living with a life-limiting illness or disability.
According to UK Charity, Carers Trust, one in five people will be informal carers at some point in their lives – meaning that they provide continued support to a less able friend or relative. By 2030, the number of carers will increase by 3.4 million (around 60%). In Essex alone there are 145,000 who provide unpaid care and support for someone (a family member or friend) on a daily basis, according to Healthwatch Essex.
“Our Carers’ Group is going to offer vital support for carers and people who support a friend or relative throughout the local community,” explains Jane Iskander, Day Therapy Manager at St Clare Hospice. “Around 22% of Essex carers are providing care to someone close for 50 more hours per week – which means that these people are twice as likely to report ill-health as those not providing care. Now, more than ever, it’s time for organisations like hospices to ensure that people living alongside someone who is ill or disabled are getting the support they need.”
St Clare Hospice’s new Carers’ Group aims to provide information, skills and support to help informal carers cope with the challenges they may face caring for someone close.
“There are a number of ways that a person can be affected by the pressures of caring for a friend or relative, whether they are providing personal care or simply things like doing the shopping or taking them to appointments regularly” Jane continues. “Things like stress, fatigue and exhaustion are common – and will be things that we look to address within the group.
“Through connecting with others in a similar situation, the groups will facilitate a safe space for carers to explore and express their emotions and concerns through group discussions and peer support,” Jane continues. “But we’ll also be providing guidance around practical issues such as preparing for the end of life, financial guidance and navigating the care system. As well as exploring how to better care for a relative – including technique-based skills such as mindfulness, hand massage, moving and handling a person, diet and nutrition, physiotherapy and more.
“This is a real opportunity for carers in West Essex and East Herts to access support that will empower them to offer better care to their relative – as well as cope and care for themselves in the process. It’s an opportunity to meet others in a similar situation whilst accessing professional, specialist advice and guidance – completely free of charge.”
St Clare’s Carers’ Group runs on Friday mornings alongside Café Clare. Café Clare is a drop-in event open to both patients and families at the Hospice, as well as members of the community who wish to visit or engage with St Clare.
“Our Carers’ Group runs alongside Café Clare to ensure that, if needed, carers can bring along their relative/friend at the same time as attending the group,” explains Jane. “Café Clare provides a great opportunity to meet others and find out about other St Clare services that may be of benefit.”
St Clare’s Carers’ Group runs over a period of six weeks, with the first course starting on Friday 7th February 2020, 10am – 12 noon, through until 20th March. It is advised that attendees commit to attending the whole course as the programme offers a series of structured sessions. The course is free to attend.
Would you like to attend our Carers’ Group?
If you would like to attend, the number to call is 01279 773768. You will need to book your place and undergo a telephone assessment. There are also another three courses scheduled for throughout the year.