Top tips: how support groups can best support carers

Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis > Find a support group > Top tips: how support groups can best support carers
Lorna McLauchlan, Support Group Co-ordinator

“Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.  This year APF would like to increase awareness amongst support groups and provide some tips for groups to support their carer members.

Caring for someone can be a demanding role, physically, emotionally and financially. Many people don’t even recognise that they are a carer and are not aware that they have rights. Being a carer can be isolating and you can become cut off from friends and your community, so attending a support group with or without the cared for can be a huge help.  It’s a place where you can share what is on your mind with others who understand what you are going through.

Here are some tips to help carers at your groups:

  • Consider inviting your local carers centre to one of your meetings to talk about what they offer and what support they can provide locally. You can find your local centre here www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/get-support/local-support
  • Publish the local carers centre number in your newsletter or email correspondence to group members
  • Provide the APF support line for carers to use for expert advice and help – 01223 785725 
  • Some groups run separate carers group alongside their main PF group- this allows carers to get together and share their problems/issues and support one another.
  • Unpaid carers are entitled to a carer’s assessment by their local council who can guide and signpost you to the help you may need- here is a link explaining this. www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/practical-support/getting-care-and-support/carers-assessment
  • Carers centres can help you look after yourself, something that can be easily forgotten when you are prioritising the person you care for. They can signpost you towards benefit advice and practical help

Remember being a carer can be a demanding job and you need to be at your best physically and emotionally to cope with things.”

We are here for you. We offer a call back service and email support, staffed by patient ambassadors and an ILD specialist nurse. Call the Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis Support line on 01223 785725 or email supportline@actionpulmonaryfibrosis.org. We will aim to respond to you within two days.

Find your local support group here – https://www.actionpulmonaryfibrosis.org/find-a-support-group/