Having a proper break is something lots of us can choose to do at some point in our day.
But for many people who care unpaid for a husband, wife, partner, mother, father, child, sibling or friend because of their illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, having a proper break is simply not possible.
Carers range in age from as young as five years old up to the very elderly. They can be looking after loved ones for long stretches of time and be responsible for them 24/7.
Miriam Martin, chief executive of Caring Together said, “We all need and deserve a break. And we need your help to give carers a break, the break they need and deserve.
“That is why we are asking you to share your breaktime mugshot, donate £3 to Caring Together and nominate three of your friends, work colleagues or family so they can do the same and help to give carers a break.
“£3 is only the cost of buying a coffee, but these donations can add up to make a huge difference to carers.
“With your help carers of all ages and in varying situations can take breaks in all sorts of different ways. Helping them to have some time out and alleviate the stresses and strains they experience day to day in their caring role can improve their own health and wellbeing.
“Sharing your breaktime mugshot also shows carers that they are not alone. That people care about them, and that people want to help give carers a break.”
The type of break a carer needs depends on their personal situation. But they always appreciate it.
Rachel is nine and helps to look after her autistic sister. We provided her mum with a grant to buy toys to give her some time for herself during lockdown. Her mum said, “Thank you so much for Rachel’s grant!! She will adore these items and they will be well used and loved! These will be able to give her some alone time for her to enjoy her own thing and to have a break from everything and everyone and just relax.”
Sarah cares for her sister in law who has additional needs. She has struggled to keep in touch with friends during lockdown, so we helped her buy a tablet so she could join video calls. She said, “Thank you for letting me go to church on the computer, I loved seeing everyone and joining in with the service.”
You can see more at www.caringtogether.org/givecarersabreak
How to share your breaktime mugshot and #GiveCarersABreak
1. Take a pic of you and your favourite mug
2. Post it on social media
· tag three of your family, friends or colleagues who deserve a break
· Say you’re donating £3 by texting C4CARERS to 70331
· Use the hashtag #GiveCarersABreak
· Tag in @CaringTogether on Twitter or Instagram.
If you are camera shy you can choose to stay out of the pic and simply make your mug the star of the show.
If you want to do more to #GiveCarersABreak, then we would love to hear from you. Email Nicky Newton on email@example.com.
The difference you make by helping us #GiveCarersABreak
Providing a regular break for an adult carer can be a vital part in sustaining their health and emotional wellbeing.
Having homecare provided once a week, to look after the carer’s loved one, means the carer can take a much-needed break. They may get a rare chance to leave their house to go to the shops or see a friend, or they may just need a chance to sleep, sit quietly in their own garden, read a book or have a quiet coffee.
Young carers and their families
Helping young carers have a mini-break from their responsibilities is very important. We can provide a break based on their own needs and interests.
We can help them to have a break to do an activity many of their friends may take for granted, for example:
· To go to a swimming pool or a gym once a week for a month.
· To be able to do a specific hobby such as playing a musical instrument or become a member of a or group.
· Often family outings are not possible for young carers and their families without the appropriate level of support. A proper funded carers break can make this happen.
Here are just a few examples of how your help adds up to make a difference:
· £50 means we can provide football kit so a young carer can take their place as a member of a Saturday morning junior football team.
· £100 pays for the equipment and materials they need to take up or continue a hobby
· £250 makes sure they can have a day out, with care worker support if needed, for a birthday or similar memorable occasion, for a young carer and their family.
The coronavirus pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has made life even harder for carers with challenges around shielding, restrictions on going to the usual support groups and limitations on the ways family and friends can help.
This makes breaks even harder for carers to get, and even more important.