Take a break!

Featured article - 13 June 2019
By Isaac Samuels, Carers' Breaks reference group member

Head-shot of the author, Isaac Samuels, Carers' Breaks reference group member

Planning for a holiday

It’s that time of the year when many of us are either thinking about or planning our holidays. People are just a few clicks away from being able to have some rest and relaxation from their everyday worries and responsibilities.

But for many of us it is a whole different ball-game.

Concerns around taking a break

Those of us who provide care for loved ones often don’t even think about a break as we are too busy providing the care and support to take a breath. We just carry on.

For family members providing care there can also be a sense of guilt around going on holiday / taking a break. The biggest worry for carers is that if I take a break from caring – will the person I care for get good treatment while we are apart?

Those of us who have care and support needs are often unaware of the opportunity and benefits of getting away from our routines. We are just trying to get through every day. We may be fearful of asking for help – or be afraid that a new environment may not meet our needs or be accessible. If we have complex needs we will be concerned that our needs are not understood by a place that doesn’t really know us.

For both carer and the person who needs support there is also the consideration as to whether we can financially afford a break.

An opportunity to recharge

My experience is that we are not aware of the opportunities for breaks until we have reached our capacity to cope, have become ill ourselves, are suffering stress and have reached out to our GP, Social Worker or a support network to seek urgent help. Our lives are so much better when we positively plan for these breaks.

What are the benefits of a break? They are essential for Carers for a variety of reasons. Most importantly it allows an opportunity to recharge our batteries and breathe. Breaks are essential for the carers’ own physical and mental health; ultimately meaning that we can be refreshed and continue. It is also important that the person I care for gets a break from me!

A reassuring future

Breaks can come in different formats – residential breaks, supported holidays together, regular breaks during the week to go to the cinema, pub or park.

Essentially, good breaks are now shaped around our needs and interests in order to work for the carer and the person they care for.

My experience has been challenging and there have been many barriers to overcome. It is reassuring that there is now information, advice and guidance and particularly resources that give examples of good practice. This will ultimately help us all live our best possible lives.

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