Published 1st April 2021
We asked carers what advice and information had been most valuable to them, or what the most important things would be they would tell someone else new to looking after a family member or friend.
What you can read here is drawn from what they have told us and the advice our staff say carers they speak to value the most.
Taking care of yourself
The most common answer carers gave was to make sure you take care of yourself. This included looking after your health, taking opportunities for a break, looking to keep a hobby going, making time to talk to someone and knowing you can ask for help.
As they often said, this is important for your health and wellbeing, and so you are in a good position to look after the person you care for.
The information on this page will help you with this.
Carers tell us how valuable they have found speaking to their GP. Make sure your GP knows you are the carer for the person you look after so they can give you the appropriate advice and information. Being registered as a carer with your GP makes a difference (for example, with being entitled to a flu and COVID-19 vaccination).
They can also help support you with your health which is important for you and the person you care for.
These are available for carers. There is free support to help you, or the person you care for, get to your appointment. This includes transport being provided and the support of a qualified care work if needed. Find out more at carersmatternorfolk.org.uk/carers-covid-19-vaccinations/
Someone to talk to
Carers benefit from being able to share their experiences with other carers, or just being able to talk more generally with other carers.
We at Carers Matter Norfolk hold a virtual cuppa every Monday from 7pm-8pm,and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10.30am-11.30am. these are held on Zoom. Contact email@example.com to register or find out more.
You can visit the Carers UK forum online at www.carersuk.org/forum. You can discuss a range of topics with other people looking after a family member or friend.
Mobilise is a community of people helping each other look after someone they love. They hold online or virtual ‘cuppa’ where you can connect with around 12 other people who are also looking after a loved one. See www.mobiliseonline.co.uk/cuppa
Find out more about day centres and groups from Norfolk County Council at www.norfolk.gov.uk/care-support-and-health/support-for-living-independently/day-centres-and-groups
Support with mental health, worry and more
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. You can find out more at www.nsft.nhs.uk/first-response/
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.
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.
Advice on benefits
You can find out more about the help and advice on benefits available from Norfolk County Council at www.norfolk.gov.uk/care-support-and-health/support-for-living-independently/money-and-benefits/help-and-advice-with-benefits
See also the ‘Other useful advice’ section for details of people including Age UK and citizens’ advice who can also help.
Carers Matter Norfolk Handbook
The latest version of the Carers Matter Norfolk Handbook is available as a downloadable PDF, you can find out more about this at carersmatternorfolk.org.uk/our-work/support-for-carers/carers-matter-norfolk-handbook/. You can also request a printed version for when these are available.
This can be called a range of things including home care, home support, domiciliary care and non-residential care. These services provide practical help for people to stay independent at home, in housing with care and supported living.
Planning, including for an emergency
Being a carer for an adult can be difficult at the best of times, but what if something unexpected happened, to yourself or the person you are caring for? For example, what would happen if you were unwell yourself?
This is where emergency planning and planning ahead can help you and the person you care for. You can be prepared know what to do and, if necessary, who to ask for help.
See details and how to sign up for your carers emergency card at www.norfolk.gov.uk/care-support-and-health/get-help-with-looking-after-someone/support-for-carers/sign-up-for-a-carers-emergency-card
The Lions Message in a Bottle scheme is a simple idea to encourage people to keep their personal and medical details on a standard form and in a common location – the fridge. It is focused on the more vulnerable people in our communities, but this scheme can benefit anyone. See https://www.lions105sc.org.uk/projects/health/messageinabottle.html
You can register for Anglian Water’s priority services so you are notified of any supply interruptions, you can receive help with meter readings and protection against scams and bogus callers. Call 0800 232 1951 or see www.anglianwater.co.uk/priority
You can receive extra support during a power cut if you register on the UK Power Networks’ Priority Services Register. You can call UK Power Networks on 0800 316 3105 or go to ukpowernetworks.co.uk/power-cut/priority-services-register
Other useful advice
Carers told us other sources of advice and information are also valuable.
- Norfolk County Council – They have information for carers available at www.norfolk.gov.uk/care-support-and-health/get-help-with-looking-after-someone/support-for-carers and a directory of support available for carers at communitydirectory.norfolk.gov.uk/Information/supportforcarers?categoryId=72
- Norfolk Community Directory – The directory at www.norfolk.gov.uk/norfolk-directory provides you with information, advice, services and activities across Norfolk. (It includes information which supports the Local Offer, Care Act and Childcare Act).
- Norfolk Assistance Scheme – The Norfolk Assistance Scheme (NAS) helps people who are unable to meet their immediate needs or need practical support to set up home. See www.norfolk.gov.uk/care-support-and-health/support-for-living-independently/money-and-benefits/norfolk-assistance-scheme
- Citizens Advice Norfolk – They are available on 0800 144 8848 or at www.ncab.org.uk. Citizens Advice Norfolk can provide advice on a range of subjects, and provide specialist services in specific areas such as debt, wellbeing, addiction, homelessness and general wraparound support.
- Turn2Us – They have a useful website that can help you find grants and financial support that you may be eligible for provided by Turn2Us. You can visit this at grants-search.turn2us.org.uk
- Age UK Norwich – They can be contacted at www.ageuk.org.uk/norwich/ or on 01603 496333. Details on their services can be seen at www.ageuk.org.uk/norfolk/our-services/
Safeguarding – how to refer an adult at risk of harm for help
Safeguarding referrals of an adult at risk of harm can be made to Norfolk County Council either by calling 0344 800 8020 or if the person is not at immediate risk of harm, completing an online form at adultsocialcare.norfolk.gov.uk/web/portal/pages/safeguarding#assess