Published 29th November 2021
For many of us there may be a sense that Christmas is a time to have a break and enjoy yourself. But for some people, including carers, the festive period can bring its own challenges.
If you are a carer it may be that you and / or the person you care for are affected by:
- not being able to have some of your normal routine of activities and support or not being able get a break from your caring role
- spending time with friends and family being more challenging due to your caring responsibilities or the needs of the person you care for
- feeling added pressures through the Christmas and New Year period.
There are steps you can take to help with this, and to know where the right support is available if you need it.
Here are some tips that may help you:
Have a plan – and an emergency plan
Planning can make life easier for you and the person you look after – especially if the person you care for needs routine or finds it beneficial to be clear on what is happening.
Talk to family and friends about your plans. Raise any worries or concerns you have. Manage the expectations of family and friends, and be realistic about what is doable or desirable for you and the person you care for.
It is always important to have an emergency plan for what would happen if something happened meaning you could not carry out your caring responsibilities. Having this in place will give some added peace of mind in the festive period.
Find out more about emergency planning in Norfolk at carersmatternorfolk.org.uk/information-and-advice/your-rights/making-an-emergency-plan/
Ask for help and support
Talk to family and friends to try to give yourself a break, or to share caring responsibilities at times.
People may not be aware of the demands of your caring role until you explain it to them – particularly if they have not seen you or the person you care for as much during the time of the coronavirus pandemic.
You may be able to use your carer personal budget to pay for a break (including homecare) or to be able to take a carer’s break. It is best to plan this in advance. You can contact us to find out more about what can be available to you.
Connect with other carers
There are activities available to carers that you can get involved in and ways you can be in contact with other carers.
See more about the groups available for carers in Norfolk at carersmatternorfolk.org.uk/groups/
Check Christmas opening times
Some services may not be available during the normal hours during the Christmas period.
Depending on services you regularly use, it is worth checking the opening times of your GP, local pharmacy and other support you may need.
Carers Matter Norfolk’s opening hours are:
- Friday 24th December: 9am-1pm
- Monday 27th December: Closed (Bank Holiday)
- Tuesday 28th December: Closed (Bank Holiday)
- Wednesday 29th December: 9-4pm
- Thursday 30th December: 9-4pm
- Friday 31st December: 9-1pm
- Monday 3rd January: Closed (Bank Holiday)
- Tuesday 4th January onwards: Usual opening hours
With colder weather, having the right advice and support for staying warm is important.
NHS advice suggests that when the weather drops below 8°C, some people are at increased risk of physical and mental health conditions; such as heart attack, stroke, pneumonia and depression. There is substantial evidence of the detrimental impact of fuel poverty on the physical and mental health of residents.
You can find out more about advice and support for you at carersmatternorfolk.org.uk/keeping-norfolk-warm/
Support with your mental health and wellbeing
This time of year can be particularly demanding and you may want support with your mental health, or you may want to access support for the person you care for. Support is available.
For urgent help with mental health call the NHS on 111 and choose option 2.
You can talk to Samaritans anytime on 116 123, please remember their support is not just for those who are feeling suicidal. If you are under 19 you can contact Childline about anything. Whatever your worry, it is better out than in. Call 0800 1111.
First Response is a 24/7 helpline for people of all ages in Norfolk and Suffolk who need urgent mental health support. If you are experiencing something that makes you feel unsafe, distressed or worried about your mental health you can call the helpline on 0808 196 3494. Find out more at www.nsft.nhs.uk/first-response/
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust have resources about mental health conditions available at www.nsft.nhs.uk/mental-health-conditions
If you are feeling stressed, anxious low or depressed WellbeingNandS can help. You can visit their website at www.wellbeingnands.co.uk/norfolk/ or call their non-emergency number of 0300 123 1503.
Norfolk and Waveney Mind have a range of support and resources available to help whether you are managing your own mental health problem or supporting someone else with theirs. See www.norfolkandwaveneymind.org.uk/ or call 0300 330 5488.
See the support available from Mobilise
Mobilise have a range of support available over the Christmas period. This includes:
- a list of national organisations that are offering practical and emotional support over the Christmas period.
- you can book a confidential 30 minute call with a member of their carers support team.
- a Christmas Day (virtual) cuppa on Saturday 25th December 2021 at 11am.
- the Mobilise community on Facebook
If you need help with your care or need to report an adult at risk of harm in Norfolk you can contact Norfolk County Council by phone or text relay.
Telephone: 0344 800 8020 – this number is open 24 hours a day
Text relay: 18001 0344 800 8020 – for people with hearing or speech impairments
In an emergency call 999