Supporting a Carer

By Damienne Mor, Family Support Practitioner at Very Special Kids

 “I don’t want to ask – I feel guilty that I’ll never be able to repay the favour,” is a comment I often hear from carers who are tirelessly and selflessly looking after their sick child whilst often juggling work and other siblings. But a carers’ wellbeing is vital to being able to provide that care and support.

So if they don’t ask, what can you do to help?

  • Avoid statements like “if you need anything, just ask”. Instead make a clear offer of help and be specific about what you can do, when and for how long.
  • Relieve some of the everyday chores associated with running a household – deliver lunch box snacks for the week, or a fruit box; cook an evening meal, fold the washing or clean the shower
  • Help set-up technologies like Gather My Crew and iCare4U that can match you and friends in your circle to regular, useful tasks
  • Spend time with the carer in their home doing something that offers them some light relief – bring around a comedy, a cake or a good coffee and debrief the latest reality tv show
  • Help with the siblings – drive them to their sporting commitments or take them out to a movie
  • Organise some pampering in their home – a massage, haircut, or DIY day spa
  • Arrange to babysit, even for 20 minutes to allow your friend to get some exercise or grab a drink
  • If you are a Manager of a carer, consider creating a Heads Up Healthy Workplace action plan that supports your employee(s) by creating a more flexible workplace
  • Most importantly just be there. Hang out, listen, be patient and don’t ever give up.