Covid-19 has brought about unprecedented challenges for the country’s many thousands* of carers. Today, 8th June, marks the beginning of Carers Week, a week dedicated to raising awareness and celebrating family carers in our communities by making caring visible.
Caring for a relative with a disability, an aging parent, or a child with high support needs is complex at any time but during isolation, all stresses can be amplified, both for the carer and the person they are caring for.
The Irish Red Cross, as supporters of their local community, recognize the vital, unpaid work being done by carers all over the country. As the restrictions related to Covid-19 are slowly being lifted, Aidan Lonergan, National Director of Community Support at the Irish Red Cross, shares his tips for how you can help alleviate stress on carers in your area during these trying times.
- Offer to sit with a carer’s relative for a few hours, even in the garden whilst maintaining social distancing, so that the carer has a chance to rest
- Help with small tasks outside like cutting the grass or gardening
- Offer to go on a walk with the carer. Light exercise and the chance to get out of the house will have a positive impact on their mental health
- Pick up prescriptions or shopping that a carer needs
- Call them on the phone or set up a Zoom call with several people – social distancing doesn’t have to mean emotionally distancing and many carers are missing out on vital community connections that they relied upon as a stress reliever
- Prepare meals for them or the person they are caring for
- Lend them books or magazines, or offer to pick some up from the library for them
- Carers should acknowledge their feelings during this time, offer them a chance to talk openly with you if they wish.
"The role of the family carer, unpaid and often unseen, is for the Irish Red Cross a clear example of humanity in action. The Irish Red Cross understands the additional pressure carers can experience at this time and acknowledge the outstanding efforts made to keep their loved ones safe and well,” Aiden added.