There are an estimated 34,000 carers in Croydon supporting a loved one who is older, disabled or very ill. The unpaid role of a carer brings great responsibility as they deliver compassionate care to family and friends, with the hope to keep them at home.
Whilst caring roles are an integral part of many people’s lives caring responsibilities can sometimes create pressure on the physical and mental wellbeing of carers, particularly when carers are elderly.
Without the correct support there is a risk of the carers’ role breaking down due to exhaustion, stress or physical injury. This breakdown can be devastating for both parties, therefore it’s essential that the correct support is readily available.
Last month, a partnership between Croydon’s Carers Information Service, NHS in Croydon and Croydon Council launched the Carers Crisis Prevention Service (CCPS). The service is for adult carers aged 85+ caring for adults, offers free proactive support to alleviate carer stress and prevent the carer role collapsing.
Understanding the complexity of each case, CCPS have created a tailored service to proactively identify and assess people who may need support. Working together with the carer and the cared for, CCPS alongside other social services create a package of care to alleviate the stress from the carer.
From flexible respite care, health and wellbeing activities, a community café and bereavement counselling, CCPS’ package of care works to reduce the stress and isolation experienced by some of the most vulnerable carers in Croydon.
Service Manager, Helen Thompson shares how the service supports elderly carers in Croydon
“Carers have had their physical and mental health impacted by caring through the pandemic and some have come very close to breaking point. Our service helps to identify older carers in Croydon where there is a risk of their caring role breaking down. We’re then able to provide timely and appropriate support to give them a break, as well as emotional and practical support.
We’re currently engaging with 320 eligible Croydon residents to assess how we can support their role as a carer.”
Creating a support package
“We offer 20 hours of free flexible respite for those eligible. Through our assessment, the carer is able to tell us how they would like to use that time to suit their needs. It could be something as simple as going shopping, taking time to rest or participating in a wellbeing activity. This support allows us to provide relief for the carer and enable them to provide the best care for their loved one.“
Here, CCPS service users share how support is helping their carer role.
Mrs K’s story
85 year-old Mrs K cares for her 87 year old husband who has a complex neurological condition. They are a very private couple and have been reluctant to accept support from professionals. However, in the last year Mr K’s condition has worsened and Mrs K admits that she feels she is at breaking point.
Mrs K felt that her “life would never get better”. Her caring role can feel all-consuming at times and has resulted in her being unable to maintain her home to the standard she is used to.
Mrs K: I used to take pride in my home, now I am embarrassed at the mess it has become and it is making me feel depressed.
CCPS listened to Mrs K and put forward a tangible support package for her from their respite service as an interim measure, with welfare calls to follow to look at longer term support.
Mrs K: I feel as though this project has rescued us from a very dark place. This has been my life ever since I became a carer. I feel happier and more able to face each day, knowing I am no longer having to manage alone.
Mr A’s story
Mr A is 86 and his wife is 80. His wife has a range of health conditions and has had a stroke. Between his wife’s care visits Mr A attends to her personal care. He does the shopping and maintains the home. He provides all her meals. He also supports his wife at night-time when she needs. Mr A admits that his wife thinks “things are getting too much” for him.
Mr A has been offered 20- hours of respite from CCPS and he is planning to go to church and for walks whilst a carer supports his wife. Mr A has also been supported to request a care needs review, to ensure his wife receives the right level of care, along with follow up calls to check on his wellbeing.
Get in touch
Croydon Crisis Prevention Service is free and here to support you or anyone aged 85+ that you believe would benefit from our services.
For Carers Crisis Prevention or more general carers information, please contact us:
Carers Crisis Prevention Service
Main contact: Jane Sparks, Advice Worker
Tel: 020 8663 5674
Carers Information Service
Helpline: 020 8649 9339, option 1
Drop-In: Monday-Friday, 10am-1pm
Location: Carers Support Centre, 24 George Street, Croydon CR0 1PB