Welcome again to another one of my carer blog posts. On this particular post I am going to talk about networking with carers. When I talk about carers, I am talking about unpaid carers, I am not mentioned care workers who work for a care agency. Care workers are paid and have clients, carers are unpaid and care for someone they are related to or emotionally attached or at least know.
Caring for someone can be extriemly isolating. If a carer is spending so much time caring and not networking, they can loose out on support, information and identity. It is so important to get out there and mingle with like-minded carers.
I have done a short video presentation about carer networking, you can view it below.
- One of the worst aspect for carers is to be isolated. Carers feel they belong if they are connected to other carers.
- Carer networking is a way to meet other carers, either to exchange ideas, support each other and raise issues.
- The bigger the network, the more support.
- Carers voices should be able to help shape carer services.
Why is Carer Networking so important?
- Learning from other carers and also give information.
Without information, it is hard to know what your rights are as a carer. Information is usually accessible to carers, but be aware information can go out of date. When networking with other carers there is always a chance you can get relevant information, especially at carer support groups. Even if you know a lot about getting support for yourself, you can always help other carers at meetings or support groups.
- Create a group of connected carers to raise, discuss and solve issues.
Meeting up with other carers need not be a chore, it only takes a few dedicated carers to form a group together and discuss issues which are common in their role. No carer should end up being isolated and carers should not wait for services to respond in order to help them. It is vital carers seek out support groups and carer forums in order to raise issues and network.
- If no networking takes place, its harder to organise if carer issues go wrong.
If a large number of carers fail to organise themselves into a group or attend any carer support group, then when services decide to guess what support carers need then issues can go wrong. Carers must be vocal about what affects them.
- We cannot always depend on services to support carers issues.
Service provision and support need to hear carers voices, but they can only do half of the work. Commissioners and mental health staff can only form or create events and groups, if no carer turns up, then service providers will second guess what carers will need. Carers should not be naive about services getting things right all the time.
Types of Carer networking
Although I explain in the video, here is a list of different types of carer networking a carer can find useful.
- Going to carer support groups.
- Carer Forums.
- Ringing known carers.
- Attending carer awareness events.
- Attending mental health events.
- Signing up to online carer forums.
- Carers UK / Rethink / CQC
- Attending trust events.
- Attending other carer forums.