Birmingham Carers supported through the pandemic

Scones from home

This Carers Week - The Ageing Better Carers Hub writes about their response to Covid-19, and how they are supporting carers who live in Birmingham. 

 For many carers this has been a particularly difficult time as they try to maintain their caring support to loved ones. It has been particularly challenging for family carers as their access to paid carers was reduced and activities and respite care became unavailable. The lock-down and distancing regulations have also impacted on the ability of existing groups to physically meet. 

We are pleased to say that many of these carers and carer groups have benefited from additional support from Age Concern Birmingham, including the work of Birmingham Carers Hub and the Ageing Better in Birmingham programme. 

Our Ageing Better Carers Hub team, Christine and Kaldip, have supported Age Concern Birmingham's helpline, contacted Ageing Better groups and made referrals to the Carers Hub advisors. ALong with staff and volunteers, they have been supporting older people in need who are self-isolating and vulnerable. 

We have continued to maintain regular contact with people who lead Ageing Better carer groups, to see how we can support them through this period.
Groups have been able to access financial support from the Ageing Better programme to help members keep in touch with each other during the lock-down. Chatting with other people has proved useful to help people's concerns and this has taken place through WhatsApp, phone and video calls, Zoom and through activities to increase people's wellbeing. 

One carers group called "Park Court" was set up in a local block of flats. With the help of the Ageing Better Fund residents organised regular exercise classes. Because of the classes, residents got to know each other and are now engaging in activities such as Post Box Bingo, outdoor exercises – socially distanced in good weather - and by sharing crosswords and puzzles with each other. The majority of groups are staying in touch with each other and calling members on a regular basis. We know of a choir that practices on Zoom!

We feel that the collective response across our services to this unprecedented health crisis and compulsory isolation has demonstrated brilliant networking and cooperation in helping to reduce loneliness and separation for individuals and groups.

Our carers hub support support on offer ranges from distributing emergency food parcels; shopping; delivering groceries; befriending and welfare chats; fresh meal deliveries; queries for handy persons and gardeners; welfare benefits enquiries and legal support. We've even had requests to take out people's bins!

Overall, the feedback and appreciation from individuals that we have supported, has been wonderful and encouraging. A special shout-out to the "Stay at Home Scones" which were delivered across Birmingham to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the end of the 2nd World War.

To find out more about the Ageing Better Carers Hub, head over to https://forwardcarers.org.uk/local-services/birmingham/ageing-better/
To find out more, and take part in Carers Week 8 - 14 June 2020, visit https://www.carersweek.org/
Share a virtual cuppa with other carers - every week https://www.mobiliseonline.co.uk/cuppa 

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