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Rachael’s story...

‘Rachael’ cares for her son, ‘Gavin’ on a full-time basis. Gavin, who is in his 30s has always lived at home with his mother; he has a learning disability and is a wheelchair user. Rachael has been known to the Carer Support team for some time. She has a named Carer Advisor, ‘Kim’ who is very familiar with Rachael and her caring role. Kim ensures that Rachael is involved in support groups and activities in her area, giving Rachael opportunities for respite and a chance to build friendships with other carers. More recently, Rachael, who is in her 60s has started to experience repeated bouts of ill health - on more than one occasion this has led to short-term hospitalisation. Kim has registered Rachael onto the “Carers Emergency Response Service” which is an early response service whereby in the event of an unforeseen emergency (for example when Rachael gets admitted to hospital), a Carer Support Worker will support Gavin at home, for up to 72 hours. This has enabled Rachael to go to hospital to attend to her own medical needs, safe in the knowledge that Gavin will be cared for by an experienced worker – in his home. Kim has encouraged Rachael to think about Gavin’s future, given that it is likely that he will out-live his mother. With Kim’s support Rachael has been looking at local services that provide Supported Living facilities and Rachael is now planning the transition for Gavin to lead a more independent life. This means that Rachael can support Gavin in the transition towards a life that is less dependent on the care provided by his mother.

True Story

 Fiona’s story...

‘Fiona’ was recently referred to the Carer Support Service by the Care & Community Co-ordinator at her GP surgery. A full-time working professional in her 60s, Fiona suddenly found herself in a caring role towards both of her elderly parents, following her father’s unexpected mental collapse. Fiona found that both of her parents, who had supported one another and remained independent up until this point, became dependent upon her to help them emerge from the crisis in which they found themselves in. In order to meet their needs, Fiona reduced her commitments at work. Fiona was feeling very upset and confused, not knowing what to do or who to turn to for help. Fiona now has a named Carer Advisor, ‘Lynda’, who has worked with Fiona to help her understand the options that are available to herself and her parents. Lynda has supported Fiona in getting a ‘Carer’s Assessment’ which will examine what ongoing support is available to her: she has supported her in getting the right advice about benefits for her and housing options for her parents. Lynda has also signposted Fiona to a counselling service for herself and a ‘befriending’ service for her mother. In addition to this practical help, Lynda has been able to offer empathetic and emotional support to Fiona at a difficult time. Lynda says about Fiona “She is on the radar now, when the time is right, we will encourage her to meet other carers for mutual support – and she knows that we exist if she needs help and support.”

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