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Carers Week - Time To Care For Carers

How do you know if you’re a carer? You might think, you need to have a salary or to be paid. You might think it has to be an adult. For many, the lines between love and caring are blurred. What is Carers Week 2020 Carers Week 2020 is an initiate which seeks to raise awareness of caring. Each year, it focuses on the challenges 6.5 million UK carers face and shines a light on the contribution they make to society. The goal is to raise funds and direct carers to the organisations which can help them. This June from Monday 8th to Sunday 14th you can get involved with Carers Week, as Carers UK and five other national charities seek to make ‘Caring Visible’. Why Make Caring Visible? Caring has been in the spotlight this year, as many have appreciated the value, risk and dedication of UK’s carers. But once the clapping stops there are millions of carers left to continue alone at home. Many don’t recognise themselves as a carer. They could be the spouse who gives up a career to care for their partner. The child who skips school to look after their parent. The daughter in law who pops round every day to cook, clean and keep company with extended family members. Caring can be rewarding but it comes with challenges. Many carers struggle with their own well-being, often facing health issues of their own. Their contribution to society is largely unnoticed. Often, other career paths are halted or abruptly ended which can lead to financial difficulty. Knowing where to seek help and support is one way we can make care more visible. Carers Week 2020 is focusing on 'Making Caring Visible' to get the right information and support from services to carers. How to Get Involved with Carers Week 2020 Recognise Do you know someone who works as a carer? One of the best ways to get involved is to talk. Invite them for a chat, ask them how they are coping with their responsibilities. Find out how you can help - pick up some shopping, or extend an invitation to dinner so they can relax? Small gestures of compassion go far in making someone feel their work is recognised and appreciated. Sign Post Central to Carers’ Week 2020 is Carers UK, the leading charity for carers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Their mission is to make life easier for carers. If you know a carer, then guide them to the many resources which are available for free: ●      Online Support Forums ●      Financial Guides and Carers Allowance ●      Fact Sheets and Guides Donate Fundraising, donations or gifts all go towards making a huge difference to the life of carers in the UK. Find out how to donate at Carers UK. Campaign Share, subscribe, tweet, post – introduce Carers Week to your friends and followers. How Curam Supports Carers At Curam, we take pride in the support we offer both our service users and our valued carers. We encourage our carers to be part of a ‘micro team’ providing local support to individuals working as self-employed carers. These links are vital in maintaining a sense of community. Curam’s flexible model of care allows clients and carers to work in ways which suit them both. Taking a break from care, or finding extra support is simple – there are over 2,000 verified and insured carers on the Curam platform, covering the whole of the UK. If you need a hand then the team at Curam HQ are always happy to help. Carers stay with Curam because we do things differently, we ensure that they receive a proper reward for their hard work and we really do care about the carers on our platform. We are passionate about making a fairer care community which works for all. Find out more today.

08 June 2020

How to Beat the Winter Blues  

Winter can be a really challenging season with long nights, short days and cold weather causing many people to feel down and low in mood.  Why does it happen and what can we do to feel better? The lack of sunlight through the winter months means that our bodies don’t absorb much Vitamin D. This important vitamin helps us sleep better, supports our immune system and even combats depression. Most people absorb enough sunlight during the summer months to see them through the year, but some people, especially those who are housebound, may benefit from a top-up through taking supplements in the winter.  Reduced sunlight can have more significant effects for some people including hormonal changes that can affect mood, sleep and appetite. These symptoms can be a sign of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Sometimes referred to as ‘winter depression’, it most often occurs in the winter and is thought to affect around 1 in 15 people. See your GP if you feel that you may be suffering from symptoms of SAD and need support. Spending time around other people is a great way to help lift your mood. Ward off loneliness by maintaining your usual routine and keeping social commitments wherever possible.  A walk with friends or family can provide the mood-boosting benefits of both company and exercise in one go. Research by the charity MIND found that people who took part in outdoor activities, like walking and gardening, experienced increased self-esteem and improved mood. Getting out and about in the winter will also give your body a valuable boost of sunlight. Winter can certainly bring its challenges but being aware of your mood and making some small changes can help keep the blues away until the warmer weather and brighter days of spring return.  

20 April 2020

How To Make Your Care Budget Go Further

 Nothing changes until it’s broken. And the care system is kaput. Broken. In pieces.  Too much doom and gloom? Sadly, it reflects the frustrations of those currently seeking a carer. Until now, service users have had to grab a pen, fill out forms, telephone and wait for a carer to arrive. It’s a mystery who is coming, you hope they’re what you need. Then you hand over your care budget at roughly £18-20 an hour.  Did you know the carer who arrives is often paid only £8.60? No wonder so many are leaving the industry. They are woefully under-valued.   “I didn’t realise my agency was taking 50% of my care budget. I know they have costs to cover, but it honestly didn’t occur to me that my carer - who was fantastic and really understood our family’s needs - was only getting £8.75 an hour. I’m devastated he quit, but now I understand.” Clare, Gloucester.  Agh, we hear you. It’s a frustrating situation for everyone. Well, we didn’t think this was an efficient or safe way to deliver care. Not for the 21st Century when so many more people are seeking ways to continue living life, independently at home.  So we designed Curam to make it super easy to connect self-employed carers with clients online. It’s safe, efficient and best of all it allows clients to pay less for a carer who earns more.  That’s the reason we’re the UK’s largest source of verified searchable carers. So how does it help you make your care budget stretch further? A radical new model of care You browse our site, shortlist and select a carer of your choice and pay them a negotiated rate. On average that’s £15 an hour. You can see that’s a  £3-5 saving already.  Curam’s carers earn on average £13.50 after our marketing fees, almost double the national rate.  You can see how that’s more motivating to an experienced carer - they feel valued for their work.   We take our commission rate - which is the lowest in the sector at 12.5% - from the carer. Our fee not only covers the costs of marketing for clients for carers but also includes carer insurance, DBS checks and a secure online payments system. That way everyone feels safe and secure.  It’s a radical new approach and it’s our technology which lets us pass the benefits on to clients and carers.  The savings you make can be exactly that. Or, you can use the difference to purchase additional hours or services. Again, giving clients the choice to shape their care.  Needs Assessments Care Budget If you have recently had a needs assessment your local council will decide what financial contributions you will receive towards your care and support.  Did you know some Local Authorities use Curam already? They spend the money in your personal budget directly with us, arranging for your care and support based on your agreed care plan. You still have a say in whether this care plan is appropriate and what you want.  The reason they choose us? Curam can deliver care quickly, safely and within budget constraints.  Direct Payments Care Budget  If you receive direct payments for your care provision, you are able to choose the care provider you wish. This gives you greater flexibility to arrange your care and decide how it’s provided.  Using your Care Budget directly with Curam As you can see, the main benefit of Curam is your care budget will go further! It doesn’t stop there. With Curam you can:  -Search, interview, shortlist and choose a carer who is right for you -Have consistent, familiar care with a carer you have chosen  -Enjoy the company of someone who speaks the same language as you (many Curam carers have a second language) -Benefit from the expertise of a carer who understands your care needs -Choose exactly when and how you want care delivered - live in, hourly, domestic, medical - it’s up to you. Managing your Care Budget As Curam manages all transactions through our secure online payment system, is it simple to provide evidence for how your personal care budget is being spent.  “What I like about Curam is I know my carer is taking home almost double what they used to earn. It’s nice to know it’s not costing me a penny more but they get a big boost.” Clare - Gloucester. Curam works differently because we believe by great value care comes from valuing great carers.   Be a part of our fairer care community and sign up today.

14 July 2020

Good Mental Health Coming Out of Lockdown

  “I am surprised to say this, but I’m worried about lockdown easing.” At 67, Susan isn’t the only one feeling this way. After months of adjusting to restrictions at home it felt unnerving for her to give up that security and step out into society again. “I’m a sociable person, I do a lot of volunteering, I can chat to anyone. I suppose, now, I’ve got used to being alone.” As lockdown restrictions ease, our reactions will be different.  Bars and restaurants are open. For the social butterflies among us, it’s bought sweet relief from the monotony of lockdown. Coming out to see friends and family, (at a social distance) for the first time in months will boost mental health for many lonely people.  Those who have been shielding, vulnerable to the virus or living with mental health conditions, coming out of lockdown will be difficult. As the familiar patterns of life return, it will take time to emotionally adjust to the ‘new normal’.  Face masks, queues, travel restrictions, one-way systems, testing - are all measures to keep us safe, but in ways which seem alien. For Susan this felt unnerving. “It’s like nothing I have ever experienced. I felt scared about seeing people. It felt overwhelming to come out to the supermarket. I was worried I would have a panic attack. Before lockdown, I would never have said that.” Help is at hand. We can all discover ways to embrace social changes with a positive attitude, and find ways to feel confident as we come out of lockdown.  Staying Connected If you’re anxious about getting out, ease yourself in slowly. Social occasions might work better in the park or a garden where there’s breeze and plenty of space to distance. Stick to Zoom or Facetime for friends who are vulnerable and don’t commit to seeing too many people.  If you’re heading back into work, speak with your employer. They will have strategies for safe working. It may reassure you to talk through your concerns first.  Don’t feel you have to hit the shops - if you’ve successfully switched to online groceries and deliveries then stick to what works.  Getting Out and About From the 24th July face masks are required when travelling on public transport or when in confined spaces like shops. The science and advice is changing frequently but following the guidance is the way to keep everyone safe.  Forming a new habit can be hard. If you’re the organised type then you’ll have a face mask in your bag, glove box or coat pocket ready and waiting. If you’re not, then you might want to set a reminder on your phone or stick a note by the door before you go out.  Fear Change causes tension within us. Sometimes we embrace it and sometimes it scares us. Fear can manifest itself in different ways - we might lash out verbally, or physically, or feel panicked. It’s the ‘fight or flight’ reflex kicking in.  These feelings are normal. Try to see them objectively, acknowledge them and let them go. Stepping into a new environment is always challenging, but it will feel ‘normal’ again.  This situation is unique to everyone. There will always be people you feel are not following the rules. Try not to judge others too quickly. Everyone is adjusting to new habits, new environments and returning back to busy lives.  If you feel your frustration bubbling over, speak to an empathetic friend and try not to comment through social media. It’s better to vent and let it go. Eat well and Exercise The foundation of good health, whether mental or physical is through a healthy, balanced diet and keeping active.  If you’ve developed a gardening habit during lockdown, keep it up. Or, take a socially distanced stroll in the park with a friend. Even a jaunt around your neighbourhood will keep your endorphins going (the happy hormone) and you’ll benefit from the fresh air. Build up your resilience Nervous about lockdown easing? Celebrate the small wins. Try to pace yourself and take one new challenge at a time. Visit friends one-to-one. Go to your local shop at a quiet time of day - maybe first thing in the morning. Take a bus into town, start to familiarise yourself with how things are for now. Don’t forget to take hand sanitiser with you.  Each time you try a new activity, give yourself a pat on the back. Each time, it will feel easier. Keep going, keep challenging yourself and keep giving yourself credit.  Keep Connected If you feel overwhelmed, talk to someone. Don’t dismiss your anxiety or judge yourself too harshly. Be kind to yourself.  Use web chats or Facetime to speak with friends, many of whom may appreciate the chance to share similar worries.  A final note from Susan is the best advice: “I’ll keep checking the guidance and try not to put too much pressure on myself. Be kind to yourself is what I always say.” Coming out of lockdown will vary depending on your location within the UK. To find what current guidance on what you can and can’t do check the links below: ENGLAND  WALES SCOTLAND NORTHERN IRELAND

24 July 2020