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Support for family, friends and carers

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It is important that you get support too

You may not think of yourself as a 'carer' but if you are a partner, relative or friend of someone who has a heart condition, and involved in their care this term applies to you. Carers, whatever your age or circumstances, need information, practical help and support. Your encouragement and support, combined with the right professional guidance, can make a big difference to the person you care for.

As a carer it is important that you feel supported and able to cope. We are here to support you as well as the person you care for.

Carers assessment

If the person you care for is eligible for an assessment of their care needs, and you provide a substantial part of their care, you have a right to a separate assessment of your own needs under the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995.

The Carers Act does not give carers the right to services for themselves. But it does mean that carers can ask for their views, and any needs or difficulties in coping with caring, to be taken into account when deciding what services will be provided for the person needing care.

Some social services departments do offer specific support to carers, but what is available varies from area to area.

General tips:

  • Keep communicating: you can achieve a lot by being honest and open with the person you care for and with yourself. Try not to be overprotective. You are not in charge of your partner’s illness. You can’t make him / her healthy but, if you’re overprotective, you can make him / her feel like an invalid.
  • Try to be positive: there will be bad days. Don’t be discouraged. Remind yourself that negative thoughts are just that: thoughts, not facts. Be determined not to let the illness take over both your lives. Your partner is not a victim; neither are you. Make a list of activities both of you could enjoy. Plan to do at least one every day.
  • Encourage independence: make bargains with your partner, e.g. ‘If you do your exercises, I’ll make the tea’. If your partner is afraid to do something that you know he or she can actually do, don’t do it. Ask yourself ‘Am I doing this for my partner or am I doing it for myself, so I can feel useful?’
  • Make time for yourself: find things to do at home that will take your mind off worrying about your partner. Take a break, away from the house. Ask family or friends to stay if you are anxious about leaving your partner alone.
  • Above all try to remember that you are not alone. It is ok to ask for help and support.

Further sources of support

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