Winter months can bring specific challenges for people looking after a family member or friend, and for the person they care for.
For carers we know this winter is likely to have added challenges due to the cost of living crisis, and the continued impact of the COVID pandemic on carers, their cared for and health services.
If you are concerned or have had changes to your caring role you can contact us on 0345 241 0954 or email us at [email protected]
Here are just some of the ways you can get support.
Staying connected and reducing isolation
We have a range of carer hubs, trips and activities that you can make the most of through the winter. We recently reopened our Ely carers hub and you can see more about our hubs by clicking here.
We also hold other activities where you can relax and where you can learn more about topics that may be affecting you. See our website at caringtogether.org/events/ or contact us to find out more.
Having an emergency plan
If you are caring for a family member or friend, knowing you already have a plan for how you will manage in an emergency can help alleviate unnecessary stress.
In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Caring Together can support you with a What if? Plan for if something happens to you. This covers situations when you are unable to look after your loved one, such as sudden illness, unplanned admission to hospital, family emergency, or your car has broken down. If you have a plan in place, it can be helpful to check the details on it are up-to-date. See caringtogether.org/whatifplan for more information.
If you are in Norfolk we have details on how you can make and register your emergency plan, and on the Norfolk County Council Swift Response Service on the Carers Matter Norfolk website.
With darker nights and worsening weather conditions, if someone with dementia were to go missing, they could be more vulnerable.
You can download and complete a Herbert Protocol form from the Cambridgeshire Police website, or from the Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board website, which you only need to hand over to the police should the person you care for go missing. It means that you do not have to remember essential information at a stressful time and the search can be started sooner.
If you have equipment provided from the hospital, social care, occupational therapist or if you have bought privately from NRS Healthcare, there is a 24/7 team of technicians and engineers who can respond if your equipment breaks down.
You can call 0330 100 0098 or go to nrshealthcare.com/
You can receive extra support during a power cut if you sign up to the UK Power Networks’ Priority Services Register. You can call 0800 316 3105 or go to www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/power-cut/priority-services
You can receive extra support if:
- You rely on medical equipment
- You have refrigerated medicines
- You have a serious or chronic illness
- You have a disability
- You or someone you care for is living with dementia
- You are of pensionable age
- You have children under five in your household
- You need extra support for a short time period (e.g. if you are recovering from medical treatment).
If you have torches, make sure you know where they are, they have batteries and can be easily accessed. Also torches are much safer than candles especially if you are caring for someone who regularly uses emollient and skin creams as these can pose a fire risk.
You can get extra support for issues with your water supply if you sign up to Anglian Water’s free ‘Priority Services Register’. Call 0800 232 1951 or visit anglianwater.co.uk/priority
Once you are registered, Anglian Water will:
- Inform you of any supply interruptions
- Help you with meter readings
- Help protect you against scams and bogus callers
- Send bills in accessible formats.
As a carer, you can also be added to their nominee scheme, so you can manage your family members or friend’s account for them. Anglian Water will get in touch with you directly to let you know about any interruptions to their water supply, and work with you to get them the help they need.
Anglian Water can also help some customers with discounted tariffs, assistance schemes and affordable payment plans. Contact them to learn more.
Risk to life
For all emergencies where there is a risk to life always dial 999 for an emergency response. If there is a fire in your home, have you thought about an evacuation plan for you and the person you care for?
Make a plan and share it with the person you care for.