When you become a carer there are many things to consider. This section highlights the areas you need to consider
There are many things to take into account when you are caring. Here are a number of resources that can guide you through this process.
The Thinking Ahead resource by Carers UK helps you consider the financial impact caring might have on you and how to plan your finances accordingly.
Upfront will help you understand what benefits and entitlements you can receive as a carer.
Thinking about applying for benefits? Citizen's Advice has a lot of information about the process and how to fill in application forms.
If you are looking for extra financial assistance for someone with a disability, then the Disability Grant website provides a list of grant providers.
The Disability Resource Centre, Dunstable also helps filling out application forms for benefits. This is open all people living in Bedfordshire.
If you are over 55 years old, Age UK Bedfordshire can help with filling out forms for PIP, Attendance Allowance, Universal Credit and Blue Badge Applications. They can also arrange home visits if you are housebound.
If the person you care for has cancer then MacMillan Cancer Support runs a Welfare Rights Service for people living in Bedfordshire.
Struggling with debt
If you are struggling with debt you can receive advice and help from
- St Andrew's Money Advice, Bedford,
- Salvation Army, Bedford and Dunstable
- Christians Against Poverty (throughout Bedfordshire).
- Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council also have lists of organisations you can contact for help.
There are also a number of Foodbanks throughout Bedfordshire so if you think you would benefit from a food parcel then, please contact the office on 0300 111 1919 so we can issue you a voucher.
No one likes to think about the things that might happen that leads to an emergency. However, it is important to take time out to consider what you would do if you cannot continue caring due to an accident or ill-health.
- Keep a document about the person you care for: their conditions, medications, routines, dietary requirements, communication and mobility needs.
- Keep an ICE record on your phone stating that you are a carer and the name and address of the person you care for.
- Keep a Carers Emergency Card by Central Bedfordshire Council in your purse/wallet (available from Carers in Bedfordshire or Central Bedfordshire Council)
- Keep a Message in the Bottle in your fridge (available from Carers in Bedfordshire or Central Bedfordshire Council)
- Nominate someone else to cover your caring role.
No one plans for a crisis to happen and when they do it can be difficult to know who you can turn to for help especially if it is out of hours.
If you are not sure that medical treatment is needed then you can ring NHS 111 which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They will help to make a decision as to whether you need to see a medical professional. They can book you an appointment at the Urgent Treatment Centre, Cauldwell Medical Centre, Bedford Hospital or at Luton Town Centre Urgent Treatment Centre.
There is also a NHS Walk-in Centre at Putnoe Medical Centre, Bedford, MK41 9JE which is open Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays from 8am to 4pm. Don’t forget that many of the major supermarkets have a pharmacist who will be able to offer advice.
If the person you care for has been receiving care from the Bedfordshire Community Health Service then you can speak to qualified nurses 24/7. Contact them on 0345 602 4064
If you are concerned about issues around a person’s safety whether it is a child or an adult you can contact the local councils social services department on 0300 300 8123.
If the person you care for is experiencing a mental health crisis then you can contact the Crisis team on 01234 315 691. If the situation is life critical then ring 999 for assistance.
If you are struggling to cope emotionally and need someone to talk to, the Samaritans are happy for you to ring them on 116 123. You don’t need to be suicidal to access their 24/7 service.
Support for Former Carers at Carers in Bedfordshire
Getting into employment by Carers in Bedfordshire
Local Support Groups
CHUMS - Bereavement Support for children
Cruse Bereavement Support - Counselling Service based in Bedfordshire
Jolly Dollies a social network for widows
Talking Elephants a monthly bereavement support group in Luton & Hitchin run by Neville Funerals
On-line Bereavement Counselling with Sue Ryder
Way Up - a website supporting those widowed in their 50s and 60s.
Widowed & Young - a website supporting those aged 50 or under who have been widowed.
After Umbrage If you have recently lost someone you have been caring for and would like to go on a short break then After Umbrage offers a cottage free of charge.