Ways to support each other

FourthEstate
March 8, 2021
September 7, 2022

Read a transcript of this video:

Andrew – So Lorraine, do you know, being a carer sometimes it’s just sometime we really want to talk to someone else who’s a carer, and just share that experience

Lorraine – Absolutely. It makes you feel that you’re not alone, and that sharing experience can be really valuable in terms of boosting your self esteem and making you that much better a carer.

Andrew – And you can kind of just go straight into what’s going on right now without having to explain what being a carer is

Lorraine – Yes absolutely

Andrew – So you can just kind of like share that experience. But also I think yeah, I think we both appreciate also that sometimes you just want to be able to sound out and talk about what’s going on. And sometimes you want advice.

Lorraine – Yes absolutely

Andrew – So, initially sometimes I just want to say: “have you got time to listen?”

Lorraine – Yes

Andrew – And then the other person just knows just to be there; hold that space for me really so I can let go of today

Lorraine – Just like a sounding board, you just need to…

Andrew – Absolutely

Lorraine – Yeah absolutely, and it kind of destresses you by doing that and makes you feel so much  better

Andrew – Create that space

Lorraine – Everything goes back into perspective doesn’t it, and then you can start to see things you know, kind of clearly again and take it from there. I think it’s also really good I think to share with other people who are a bit further along the carer experience and you know learn, as you say, practical things that they’ve learnt along the way that you can put in place. But I think it’s also good, you feel good as well, because you can share your experience and help somebody else, can’t you.

Andrew – Absolutely

Lorraine – It does a lot to boost your self esteem

Andrew – Yeah you’re so right. Sometimes in these conversations it’s just like that understanding, that realisation of yourself, and likewise, sharing experience but you’re learning at the same time.

Lorraine – Exactly that

Andrew – It’s kind of creating a reserve of information for the future perhaps

Lorraine – Absolutely yes, it might not be relevant at the time but quite often later on it comes into play. I think it’s also as well about feeling it’s a safe place where you can let go of your emotions because people understand where that’s coming from. And obviously it feels quite confidential because the person’s experiencing the same thing as you. And I think you’ve also got that trust with them because they’ve been walking in your shoes really

Andrew – Yes, it’s that unconscious trust, it’s just a knowing isn’t it, it really is

Lorraine – Absolutely. I know we spoke earlier about you know, having a possible contingency plan you know; if you work with other carers or if you’ve got other carers within the family it’s good to plan ahead you know, and have that sort of safety net, you know, so that if anything should go wrong you’ve got somebody there that can step in and take over the reins. It gives you that sense of security that everything will be ok if there’s a kind of crisis that you don’t expect. And I think it’s not something everybody thinks about.

Andrew – No, it was a really useful conversation for me, because I’ve been able to make use of that straight away. Because sometimes you think about maybe your family, you think about yourself, and then sometimes it needs to be somebody just close, in the vicinity, but having that conversation ahead of time. But yeah, these conversations, just they’re so useful because it’s support; sometimes it’s signposting: “Did you know?” and “How do you?”. It’s so… things come up that you don’t expect which is just so helpful.

Lorraine – And I think we’re just so really bad at listening to all the negative comments that we’ve heard aren’t we, and people are really good at turning that round you know by pointing out all the positives that you do as a carer and you know, getting you to look at things more positively.

Andrew – Yeah because it’s so personal to us, and we’re there, so having that ability to let it out and it’s being witnessed, and as you said, people can see the other perspective and make you aware of what you’re actually… where you’re doing a great job.

Lorraine – Absolutely. I think also with the resilience stuff I think it’s really good you can do that together, sometimes you know if you live locally besides somebody, or if it’s within the family, you can then actually sit down and destress together. You know, doing a sort of mental exercise or whatever. I think you don’t always have to do it on your own, it can sometimes…

Andrew – A shared experience

Lorraine – Yes absolutely

Andrew – And even when seeking out, if you know there’s a kind of an opportunity to do a little bit of training, because there’s, it’s doing it together sometimes, because going into the unknown sometimes you know can be a bit apprehensive, but you know sharing that experience, all the apprehension, doing things together, really great.

Lorraine – Absolutely, I think it’s also the fact that people can, if you get in touch with other carers and you make a kind of… and found yourself, that’s what we find at Dementia Carers Count is that people are coming through word of mouth, you know, that somebody comes on the course and then they actually pass that on to other family members or friends, and before you know it you’ve got a stream of people that are all linked together.

Andrew – Yeah because we all have our own unique experience, and it’s just sharing that information because it’s so helpful.

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Ways to support each other
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In this conversation, Andrew and Lorraine talk about the difference it can make talking to other carers
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Being a carer
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