Following a particularly difficult year for unpaid Carers, Crossroads Care Kent wants Carers across Kent to know that “We Still Care”. Our staff have been working throughout the pandemic, providing urgent, vital support and, now that there is an easing of lockdown restrictions and shielding, we want to remind people that if you, or someone you know is looking after someone at home, who needs some help and support, we are here for you.
As Kent’s leading Carers’ charity, Crossroads Care Kent can provide free, in-the-home replacement care to enable an unpaid Carer to take a short break – do essential shopping, go for a walk, see a friend, or attend a health appointment to stay well themselves.
Our urgent care team works around the clock to offer support when situations get too difficult, or in the event of an emergency. Our volunteer support team can offer someone to talk to, befriending, or practical help around the house or garden. Crossroads Care Kent can offer unpaid Carers the time and opportunity to do what they need to do, safe in the knowledge that the person they care for is in the best possible hands.
Irene Jeffrey, Crossroads Care Kent Chief Executive Officer, said: “It has been such a tough year for unpaid Carers and families with existing ill-health in the home. So many have had to shield strictly, meaning that many Carers across Kent have made the difficult decision to face their caring role alone over the last year.
We are proud to have continued providing support to Carers across all of Kent and Medway throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with our staff working tirelessly to ensure people do not have to face their caring role alone. As lockdown restrictions ease and people start to think about venturing out again, we want to remind all unpaid Carers that we are here to support them in their caring role and give them the time they so richly deserve and need to look after themselves and attend to their own needs.”
Life rarely gives you a warning that you are going to become an unpaid Carer, or that your Carer may no longer be around to care for you.
The following is a story about how we were able to step in and provide vital support when a family needed it most. Canterbury resident, Mr Smith was cared for by his wife who, for many years was his unpaid Carer. They were referred to Crossroads Care Kent by their GP, but felt, at the time, that they could manage on their own. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and they did not want to risk anyone coming into their home. Mr Smith is 94 and has serious heart problems, arthritis and prostate cancer that is continually monitored.
Tragically, in February this year, we received a call from Mr Smith’s daughter-in-law, explaining that his wife and fulltime Carer had suddenly passed away at Christmas, leaving Mr Smith alone and, as one can imagine, Mr Smith was devastated. Now that his wife was no longer there to care for him, his son and other family members had to step into her caring role, taking turns to stay overnight, whilst also trying to look after their own families.
Sadly, this is an all-too-common situation. Our experienced Care Managers have been able to reassure the family about how Crossroads Care Kent continued to keep people safe during the pandemic, and Mr Smith and his family now have a regular visit from one of our trained Carer Support workers, giving them all much-needed respite from their caring roles. Also, very importantly, Mr Smith now has someone caring and impartial to open up to. He shares how he feels with Louise, his Carer Support Worker, and this has really helped him deal with the loss of his beloved wife.
Our visits have also enabled his son and daughter-in-law to get their own lives back in balance, with a return to work now imminent. Mr Smith and his loving, caring family were at a complete loss as to how to manage in the wake of his wife’s passing. Our support has proven invaluable to the whole family, giving his son and daughter- in-law the time and confidence to be able to leave their dad, for a few hours each week, knowing he is well cared for, looked after, and he looks forward to his weekly visit from Louise and the company and emotional support this brings to him.
If you, or someone you know, is an unpaid Carer in need of help and support, you can speak to us on 03450 956 701 or visit www.crossroadskent.org to find out more. Our services are free of charge and we work across the whole of Kent.