Welcome to our bumper edition. We have so much going on this summer to update you on, including carer tips and news and information relevant to your role as someone who looks after an adult or as a former carer. If you have ideas for content or feedback please contact us at email@example.com.
Hospital Carer Hubs Reopening
Our Carers Hub (formerly the Carers Lounge) has reopened at Bedford Hospital. We are really pleased to be able to welcome carers back into the hub after closing during the pandemic – it’s been a while.
Next Monday (11 July) we will reopen the Carers Hub at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital.
At the hubs you can receive support in a safe and confidential setting. We know a hospital admission can be scary for both you and the person you care for and we are experienced in understanding hospital processes around discharge and continuing care once back in the community.
We can help with information, advice, practical or emotional support, as well as liaise with hospital staff if you have any queries about the treatment of the person you care for, or around discharge arrangements.
If you are visiting the hospital or attending an outpatient appointment with the person you care for, then pop in and say hello.
Bedford Hospital will be staffed Monday to Friday 10am – 5pm.
Luton and Dunstable (L&D) University Hospital will be staffed Mondays and Fridays, 10am until 5pm.
To get in touch with one of our support workers at the hubs call 07859 394126 (you can also call this number Tuesday to Thursday when the L&D Hub is not staffed) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carer Wellbeing Tips
Here are some tips to help you with your health and wellbeing over the summer. Incorporating small changes can have a positive impact on your wellbeing:
- Stay hydrated, ensure you drink lots of water. This can help improve your physical health, as well as your mood and quality of sleep.
- Spend time outdoors, this can help with reducing stress levels and mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. Try going to the local park for a walk, or just reading a book outside in the garden can help.
- Exercise, joining the gym can be a great way to keep physically fit, however if that isn’t possible, even a short burst of exercise such as walking for 10 minutes can have huge benefits for your mental health and wellbeing.
- Create a routine, try to create a wellbeing routine, where you can incorporate small activities into your routine and take some time for yourself, this can include physical activities, hobbies, or simply taking some time to relax.
Hopefully these tips are helpful and will allow you to make small changes in your routine to improve your health and
wellbeing. If you need any further support, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Wellbeing Practitioner Aisha Khan.
More help for carers looking after someone struggling with their mental health
We have two new Community Mental Health Link Workers joining Carers in Bedfordshire, who also work within the East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) Mental Health Teams.
Nikki Linford covers Mid Bedfordshire and Dilakshana Ettricksuthakaran South Bedfordshire. They join Sandra Wood who covers the Bedford area.
The team offer Carers Assessments and work with carers looking after someone struggling with their mental health. Carers are referred to them by the Community Mental Health Teams. They work collaboratively with other health professionals including ELFT to support carers.
Care homes and carers
Do you have experience of a relative living in a care home? Are you thinking about using a care home?
We’re keen to find out how our services can be improved for those caring for someone in residential care.
You may also have tips that can help other carers about to embark on a similar journey. What are the positives and the challenges of caring for a relative who lives in residential, nursing or a care home?
To have your say:
Take our online survey: Care homes and carers by 31 July.
Book a place at the Carers forum on 26 July 11 – 12.30pm online or in person – Booking details.
Request a 10 minute telephone call – email email@example.com or telephone 0300 111 1919.
You won’t have to mention the name of the care home. A report will be published on our website and good practice shared with the care home sector in general.
This carer’s story illustrates some of the issues faced and what can help: Chris’s story
If the person you care for hasn’t moved to a care home, but this is something you’re thinking about doing, or you’re worrying about it as a possibility in a few years, please fill in the first part of our survey. Feel free to book a place at the Carers Forum.
What’s On – Regular Groups
Our Carer Social Groups run monthly, offering support to all carers who want to meet with those in similar circumstances at different locations across the county.
A support worker facilitates the sessions and can guide you through support that might help you. The group is really beneficial, as you can learn so much from each other and it helps in making you realise you’re NOT alone in what you’re going through.
It can break the isolation you may be feeling and it has become a great support network for some who have formed strong friendships and support each other outside the group.
Newly Registered Carers Welcome Group
We also run a quarterly evening Zoom welcome meeting for newly registered carers. This is an opportunity to hear about our service, meet our support workers and ask questions. The next one is on 14 July, at 8-9 pm. Sign up via our What’s On guide to get the Zoom log in.
Roaming Ramblers Walking Group
Runs at different venues across the county, second Wednesday of the month, 1-3pm. On 13 July meeting at the Danish Camp in Willington and 10 August at Houghton Hall Park in Houghton Regis.
As well as a Leighton Buzzard Walking Group running the first Wednesday of the month, 1-3pm: 3 August and 7 September meeting at Tesco Car Park.
Former Carers Group
We run a social group for bereaved carers as we know when the person you care for dies, it can be really tough to know how to move forward – not only have you lost the person you loved but you have lost your way of life. It’s an opportunity to meet people in similar circumstances to you.
The first Wednesday of every month in Central Bedfordshire. Our What’s On guide is being updated with the details
Summer Events for Former Carers
You can sign up to either of these events (only one permitted per person):
Cream Tea celebration at the Forest Centre in Marston Moretaine – 3 August. Meet at 10am outside the cafe for a short walk, or at 11am in the cafe for the cream tea only.
Saturday Socials and Treatments
We have a great program of events coming up at our Saturday Socials over the coming months. The sessions are open to all carers, their families and the people they care for. They run at the same time as the haircuts, foot care and massage treatments at venues across the county. As well as taking part in a fun activity they are also a chance to unwind, meet other carers and enjoy a cuppa.
Coming up is: Virtual Reality fun next Saturday (16 July) at Eaton Bray Village Hall and 24 September at Biggleswade Baptist Church.
If you are poorly or been in touch with someone who is poorly, we urge you please not to attend our groups, as we are supporting people looking after the clinically vulnerable. Thank you for your understanding.
Making decisions in later life talk
On 19 July at 11am, we are delighted to welcome Adam Hillier of Legal & General to give an overview of:
Power of Attorney
Deputyship and the legal context
To sign up and for further information visit the Making decisions in later life information on our website.
Talk for carers of people with Parkinson’s
join our nurse Karen Coupland on 18 July at 2pm for an overview of what Parkinson’s is, how do people get diagnosed, what are the symptoms, the importance of medication, exercise and hydration and learn about the help available. There will also be the opportunity to ask questions.
To sign up and for further information visit the talk for carers of people with Parkinson’s information on our website.
Are you feeling stressed out or anxious? Is your caring role getting you down? Join us for one-off, one hour workshops, in the daytime and evening, to help you to look after your wellbeing:
Low Mood Workshop – Tuesday 20 September, at 6-7pm, on Zoom
Stress Workshop – Wednesday 21 September, 10-11am, in person face-to-face, or by Zoom
Anxiety Workshop – Thursday 22 September, 6-7pm, on Zoom
Don’t forget we also have our Monthly Wellbeing Q&A Drop-in, on Friday 5 August, 1-2pm and our Weekly Wellbeing Group on a Tuesday where we’ll tackle a different topic each week and end the session with a mindfulness technique.
To join any of the sessions visit our Wellbeing Registration Form.
Men Care Too events
Looking after your mental health when caring talk for male carers online 26 September at 7pm.
Calling all gamers – we’re running a new FREE monthly online gaming night and particularly welcome male carers to join these sessions, but all over 18s are welcome. On the last Tuesday of the month, from 7.30-9pm on 26 July and 30 August.
Allotment volunteers wanted
We’re looking for more green fingered volunteers to help us prepare the Carers Community Allotment in Leighton Buzzard.
It was kindly donated by the Linslade & Southcourt Allotment Association as a respite
space where carers can go to help with their wellbeing, by growing plants and vegetables.
The volunteers have been working hard clearing the space. They have installed an eco-toilet, as well as raised planting beds and paving a path, to make it accessible to all.
Sharon Rogers, who is leading the project, said: “With a small group of carer volunteers, a bit of mucking in and making new friends, with no end of slimy wildlife, it is now starting to resemble something like a place where vegetables and flowers may one day flourish.
“With the support of the allotment association and some generous donations we are hoping to have one end paved and it be a real community area for our carers to enjoy the peace and quiet and the social side of allotment life.
“Before we get to sunshine and flowers, we still need some more elbow grease and welcome new volunteers.”
Anyone interested in helping to work on the site should email Sharon or contact her on 0300 111 1919. She is available Wednesdays to Fridays.
How do I apply for a carers grant?
We have a new and improved NHS Carers Grant application system. Our new Grant Portal allows you to make applications online which can be saved and completed at another time, as well as track what stage your application is at once it has been submitted. Visit our grants webpage and find out more information on the process. If have any grants related questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I find out about events, activities and groups coming up?
Visit our What’s On page to find the activities relevant to you, via the ‘Who This is For’ drop down menu.
Do I have to pay for the groups and activities?
The majority of our groups, events and activities are free. But did you know Carers in Bedfordshire is a charity and relies on donations?