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Care Needs Assessment: Everything You Need To Know

Care Needs Assessment: Everything You Need To Know

If you, a friend, or family member has started needing help to cope with day-to-day tasks, the first stage of your care journey is to get a free social care needs assessment from your local council. In this article we will explain all the most important information you need to know about the ‘needs assessment’ process.     What is a care needs assessment?  A care needs assessment is an independent evaluation of the level of care or support that you currently need. It is normally carried out by an assessor who comes from the social services department of your local council.  During the assessment, you can discuss and clarify your needs and goals with a qualified professional. Whether you need help to get dressed and carry out day-to-day tasks, or assistance in maintaining your social life or keeping up with your hobbies, the assessor can clarify the options available to you. These assessments usually have the end goal of helping you continue to live independently.      What can you get from doing the assessment?  After a needs assessment you will have a clearer idea of what you will need to safely remain in your own home. You will also be able to get a means test or financial assessment. Therefore, only by completing a needs assessment will the council be able to make an informed decision on whether you are eligible for:  ·      A paid carer that provides practical support  ·      Funding for equipment, such as a personal alarm, or walking equipment ·      Funding for major or minor adaptations of your home  ·      Day care for your child(ren), if either you or they are disabled  ·      Access to lunch clubs and day activity groups  ·      Help with parenting, such as classes   ·      Care home admission    How long is the care needs assessment process?  Although there is no set timescale for the process to start, it normally takes from 4-6 weeks for the claim to be assessed. And once the assessment has been carried out, you normally get the results within a week.   However, if you or your loved one have a rapidly deteriorating condition, with substantial ongoing care needs, it would be better to consider the NHS continuing healthcare fast-tracked assessment service.  The care needs assessment interview lasts a least an hour and will be either face-to-face, over the phone or online (during the COVID-19 period, only contactless assessments will take place).     Coronavirus and care assessments  During the COVID-19 pandemic emergency period, your local council might trigger temporary powers (known as easements) that let them decide how, when and in what order they carry out these assessments. This may mean that your assessment takes longer than usual. However, councils must always give you at least all of the necessary information and advice as soon as they possibly can.    How to prepare for a care needs assessment?  It is helpful to give as much detail as you can in the assessment, as this will ensure you receive the assistance you require. The assessor will also consider the various types of services, resources and advice that would help to prevent or delay further care needs from developing and help you to stay better for longer. It is therefore helpful to reflect on some of the questions they might ask and prepare some notes on how you might answer in advance. An example of some of these questions are:  ·      How are you managing with day-to-day tasks? - washing and dressing yourself, cooking  ·      Do your needs fluctuate? - you may be able to do something well now but in the past you may have struggled ·      What are your choices and goals? - take up a new hobby, maintain/develop relationships, use and move about home safely, take part in education/work/ volunteering, look after children you have responsibility for ·      What barriers are stopping you from achieving those goals? - you fear falling when leaving the house  ·      What are your care preferences? - time of day, level of care desired ·      What are your family’s needs? - do you have other family members who need assistance?  Bring a friend or an advocate  It is best to have a friend or relative with you during the assessment, this can help if you are unable to easily explain the challenges you may be facing. They may even help to take notes on what the assessor advises.   If this is not possible you could use an advocate. Advocates are people who make sure you are heard and understood, their service is often available free locally. Find an advocate in your local area here.    How do you apply?  Apply for a needs assessment today by entering your postcode and filling out the form.  What if your care needs are urgent?  If you urgently need help, you can ask for an urgent care needs assessment. In these cases, the council may be able to provide you with an emergency care package until the assessment is carried out.    Support with your application  The whole process may seem daunting, especially if you are new to the world of care. Luckily, there are many organisations and charities, both nationally and locally, that are able to provide clear and unbiased support, as well as answers to your questions.    Free phone helplines:  ·      Age UK: 0800 678 1602 (Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year.)  ·      Independent Age: 0800 319 6789  ·      The Family Rights Group: 0808 801 0366  You can also access further free information on these websites:  ·      NHS  ·      Carers UK  ·      Age UK (elderly needs assessment info)  ·      Mind (mental health needs assessment info)    What happens after the assessment?  Once you have got the results of your assessment, if the council has deemed you eligible for support, they will then consult you to draw up a Care Plan.   Alternatively, if they do not deem you eligible you can either challenge their assessment, or go ahead and consider hiring a carer today through self-funding.  

25 November 2020

What Do Our Carers Think About Curam? 

What Do Our Carers Think About Curam? 

Are you a carer thinking of joining Curam? Or maybe you are a client who wants to know how Curam carers feel about the platform? This article will tell you all about why our carers love to use our platform to find care jobs, and why you should too!   Ever since Curam joined forces with Trustpilot in October, feedback has been flooding in about what it is like to work as a Curam carer. Trustpilot is a platform where people can share honest reviews about their experiences with Curam. These reviews let us hear what our carers really think and we have loved reading about how happy our self-employed carers are with our platform and service. Curam’s aim is to create a better care community for both carers and clients. Not only do our carers earn more (earning £15 per hour on average), but they also get to choose who they work for, and when they want to work. It is also great for clients as they have choice over who provides their care and  control of when they get to receive care.   Aside from the fact that carers earn on average 25% more when working with Curam (after tax and our fees), in our reviews, carers have told us the 5 best things about working with Curam:  ·     Feeling happy and proud.  ·     Being self-employed.  ·     Curam’s carer support services.  ·     The Curam app and website.  ·     Easy admin and invoices.    Curam carers are happy carers  We were so pleased to hear that carers who used our platform felt content, happy and wanted to continue using our service. In fact, since working for Curam, Blessed 'has never been so happy’ and Caroline ‘would never look back’.   One of the other feelings that carers told us they had when working with Curam was pride. Carers love our mission to create a better care community, and they saw that we have the drive to achieve it. In fact, our carers told us they loved our mission in their reviews:  ·     Cheryl was ‘very happy to be affiliated with Curamcare’.  ·     Gabriele told us that we were a ‘one-of-a-kind care company’ that has ‘shaken up the care industry’.  One of our clients, Penny, said that it was ‘heart-warming’ to know that Curam carers receive a greater amount of their hourly pay rate compared with a care agency. This shows that Curam clients and carers really value one another.   We believe that our platform also creates happy carers because they get to choose who they work for. Gabriele went on to tell us about how lovely her Curam clients had been, and how her care had allowed them to have a great birthday. This made Gabriele want to ‘help many more clients in the future’.    Curam carers love being self-employed   Wendy believes that ‘if you're looking for a self-employed opportunity in care work, Curam is a great platform to use’. Many other carers said they love being self-employed and would recommend Curam to other people looking for this type of work.   Nicolette told us that Curam is a wonderful platform as it ‘gives you the opportunity to choose when, where and for who to work’. This flexible way of working is perfect for carers. Here's just a small selection of the many benefits our self-employed carers have experienced since working with Curam:   ·     A better work-life balance.  ·     More time to spend with friends and family.  ·     More control over who they care for.  ·     More flexibility to take time off work.  ·     A better work-rest balance.  ·     Support and feedback.  Choosing who to work for helps carers to enjoy their job as they know what the person they are going to care for is like and can decide if they are the right fit for that person.  Care work is a rewarding job, but it can be tiring. It's useful to know that a Curam carer can take a day off if they need it (with the support of their Curam ‘micro-team’). Caroline loves the fact that self-employed carers that work with Curam can ‘pick and choose [their] hours’. Finding the right balance between work and rest will help carers look after themselves and their health.  Our platform helps self-employed carers to get the most out of care work. Annika also told us that ‘even though we're self-employed, we receive so much help and feedback from Curam’. In fact, Curam helps self-employed carers by making admin tasks easier and supporting them with insurance, service agreements and invoicing.    Curam carers receive great support   As Annika says above, one of the best things about Curam is our carer support service. Carers can rely on our carer support staff to:  ·     Explain how Curam works. ·     Answer any questions. ·     Help carers use the Curam app and website.  ·     Help solve any other issues Curam carers may have. There were many happy comments in our reviews about the support and service that Curam provides:  ·     Cheryl said that our carer support staff were ‘professional, friendly and always on hand should any problems arise’. ·     Sophia thought that Curam has ‘great communication’. ·     Hunt believed that our carer support staff had a ‘helpful attitude’. ·     Loo gave a shoutout to Debbie for being helpful. Debbie is part of the awesome team that supports Curam carers. Great support and service makes carers feel confident. In fact, Blessed says: ‘I have so much confidence with [Curam], as l know they will give me support when l need it’. And it is true, we are always there for our carers.  Curam also offers self-employed carers a discounted yearly membership to the National Association of Care and Support Workers (NACAS) so that they can further their skills by taking part in low cost carer training. Curam will also soon be offering all approved Curam carers free online training via our training partners Qintil.    Curam carers find our platform easy to use  One of our main focuses at Curam is our technology. Our CuramCarer app makes it easy to find work as a self-employed carer. Our carers love how easy it is to use our app and website:  ·     Nancy told us that ‘the app is simple and straightforward’.  ·     Nicolette believes that ‘the recent app is brilliant' and ‘good for clients and carers’.   ·     Wendy thinks that the ‘website is very easy to use’.   Finding care work as a self-employed carer has never been so simple. In fact, Amanda told us that signing up was easy and says that ‘the Curam app is a great tool to message, draw up agreements and invoice clients, [as it’s] very straightforward and easy to use’.    Curam carers get paid quickly and find admin easy   As Amanda has told us, the Curam platform not only makes it easy to sign-up and find care work, it also makes all the admin that comes with being a self-employed carer easy. On the Curam app, the service agreement templates and invoice templates have been made for carers. Curam carers just have to fill in their details.  Curam makes sending an invoice simple and fast. In fact, Wendy told us that ‘payments of all invoices [were] dealt with quickly and professionally’ when she worked with Curam. Earning quickly makes care work even more of a reward.  We believe that self-employed carers should earn a fair wage, and they should receive it on-time. That is why Curam guarantees payment from clients (as long as a service agreement is made before work). We also make sure that carers get paid a better wage and offer the lowest commission fees in the sector (12.5%+VAT).    Become a Curam carer now!   Finding care work has never been so easy and we are creating a better care community. If you want to work as a self-employed carer and you like Curam’s mission and platform, then sign up as a Curam carer today!   We are helping you to find care work near you and making sure you are paid a fairer wage for your work. You will be able to choose where you want to work, when you want to work, and who you want to work for. We also promise to give you the best service and support and to make admin and invoices easy.   You can start providing care as a Curam carer after you complete these 3 simple steps:  ·     Step 1: Download the CuramCarer app and create an account  ·     Step 2: Build your profile.  ·     Step 3: Book your online interview & go live on the platform!     A huge thank you to our carers  We'd like to say a massive thank you to all of the carers that have left us reviews and told us all about why they love working as self-employed Curam carers. Read the rest of our reviews from clients and carers on Trustpilot. We are always here to support you and help you get the best out of our platform.   

24 November 2020

Carers Week - Time To Care For Carers

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 you have to be an adult. For many, the lines between love and caring are blurred. What is Carers Week 2020 Carers Week 2020 is an initiative 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

Tips on Caring for People Who Have Dementia

Tips on Caring for People Who Have Dementia

850,000 people in the UK currently live with dementia. By 2040 the Government predicts that will be 1.6 million - that’s the equivalent population of Birmingham struggling with cognitive abilities. Early diagnosis helps but so does learning the skills required to assist those living with dementia. With the evidence indicating that 2 in 10 of our ageing population will at some point be diagnosed with dementia, perhaps it’s time we learnt better ways to support, care and communicate? Here’s our 10 point guide to caring for dementia clients.   What is dementia and Alzheimer’s? It can be hard to know the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s. In simple terms, when the brain in injured, either through stroke or disease, it’s called dementia. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. Dementia is a progressive condition which affects people in different ways.  Those with Alzheimer’s may struggle with memory and daily tasks, and others with more advanced dementia conditions will be unable to express themselves clearly or rationally.   10 Ways you can care for someone with dementia When caring for someone with dementia it is important to try to communicate effectively and empathetically, maintain a positive outlook and look for the support and information you need.  1.     Slow down Take it slow. Be patient. The tortoise, and not the hare, will win the race if you want constructive conversation with anyone living with dementia conditions. Those with cognitive impairments need time to process their thoughts. People with dementia can easily pick up on negative feelings. By slowing down, you’ll create an environment where you both feel less stress and more relaxed. 2.     Empathy Maintain a sense of empathy. Really try to understand the frustrations which can be symptomatic of dementia. In turn, adjust the way you speak to foster better relationships. By removing any distractions in the room, you’ll simplify the environment and make it easier for your companion to express themselves. 3.     Identify Introduce yourself clearly, keep your tone of voice calm and happy. Be mindful of your physical presence. Standing over someone can feel intimidating so drop down to their level. If it’s appropriate, offer a gesture of comfort and reassurance - like holding a hand - while you speak. 4.     Listen Active listening is a skill for any situation, not just when we are in the company of those with dementia. It is a process of listening attentively, letting your partner speak freely while you paraphrase and reflect back what is said, without any judgment or advice. Show you’re following what is being said by maintaining eye contact, smile and nod encouragingly. 5.     Simple Language “Bonjour! Sally here. Look, yesterday, when I spoke with you, do you remember, it was raining outside and the bin man had just been - my what a racket they make - well, I forgot to ask if you wanted any bits and bobs from the local corner shop?” Bouncy, nice little conversation there isn’t it? Takes a while to get to the point though. For someone with dementia it’s full of idioms and phrases which will cause confusion. “Hello, it’s Sally. Do you need to buy any food or snacks today?” Can you note the difference? A lot of ‘warmth’ in a conversation needs to come from body language not from complex words and lengthy questions. Stop frequently throughout the conversation to allow them time to think. This will help limit feelings of frustration and reduce any associated poor behaviours. 6.     Re-framing Being a caregiver is hard. On some days, nothing will try your patience like caring for someone with dementia. One way to keep your calm is to ‘re-frame’ negative situations. Remember that all behaviour is communication - even it’s aggressive. Acknowledge your own feelings first and take a moment to let them pass. Then consider what message is behind the negative behaviour. Are they tired? Have you been asking too many questions? Are there too many distractions? Once you reframe your thinking to be more objective and critical, you can better assess a situation and take the emotion out of it. This is especially important, if you are caring for a loved one.  7.     Reassurance You’re doing a great job. Accept that some days will be better than others. Be realistic and manage your own expectations so you’re not hard on yourself. Celebrate good days and don’t dwell on negativity. Guilt, anger or sadness are natural reactions on some days. Accept them, let them pass, then get on with life. People living with dementia often exhibit challenging behaviour when they are unhappy or frustrated. In these moments, reassure them, acknowledge their feelings, empathise and remind them they are in the company of someone who cares for them. 8.     Avoiding Arguments Did she just say that?! We have all experienced that moment, when a comment hits a nerve. We feel hurt, overwhelmed. Unfortunately, dementia causes the brain to function in a non-logical way. The consequence is a person may say something nonsensical or that they don’t mean. While you may feel hurt, there is little benefit in arguing. Try and let negative comments pass without judgment or acknowledgment and remain calm. Remove yourself from the conversation and give yourself time to let the heat of emotion pass. 9.     Learn About Dementia Knowledge is a powerful tool. It can help manage your expectations of those living with dementia. If we understand how the disease affects an individual, we can care in a more effective way. We can view behaviours objectively. We can change our communication style to encourage conversation. We can empathise when times are a struggle. Talk with doctors, research and learn about dementia and you will feel more empowered in those situations. Alzheimer’s UK NHS Dementia 10.  Join a Support Group You’ve had one of those days. You feel worn out, emotionally charged and exhausted all at once. You could ring an old friend, chat it out. You could go for a walk and get it out of your system. Both good options. But on some days, we all need the company of others who can truly empathise. Someone who can nod along, offer insights and laugh with us at the moments we can’t control. Sharing experiences of dementia with a support group can improve your outlook on the condition, help reduce stress levels and ultimately, keep you feeling happy. Find out more about support groups near you.    How Curam can help Becoming a caregiver can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be frustrating at times. Curam carers can offer respite care, or specialist dementia care. You can choose if you want care support for a few hours, a few days or full-time. Having a break from care is important. Join today to find a Curam carer that can help - help you stay positive and find time for hobbies or self care so you can remain the best caregiver for your loved one.  

29 April 2020

Carers: How to Use the Curam Platform

Carers: How to Use the Curam Platform

Welcome to Curam – you are on your way to becoming part of our better care community. Soon, you will hopefully join the many carers all across the UK that value the freedom and flexibility of working as a self-employed carer with Curam.  At Curam, you will be able to set your own rates and choose which clients you work for. You’ll also benefit from paying the lowest fees in the sector (only 12.5% + VAT) so you will take home 85% of what the client pays, versus the average of 50% that you get when you work with a traditional agency. As one of our newly signed-up carers said: “at last a company working for carers”.  This carer guide will show you how to use Curam to access hundreds of care placements all across the UK. Discover how simple it is to apply – it only takes 20 minutes to sign up and there are no joining fees. The steps to becoming a Curam carer include:      •   Signing-up      •   Completing a profile including a photograph and a short video      •   Uploading documents      •   Booking an interview  For further information we’ve even made a How to Sign Up video to explain.    STEP 1 – Sign-up and download the app  If you haven’t already, this is how to sign up:     •   Download the CuramCarer app     •   Create a Curam account with your contact details    STEP 2 – Complete profile  Create an online profile. This is like an online CV - a way for clients to see what a great carer you are.  Here, you’ll write a short profile statement called a ‘Bio’. Don’t worry if you are struggling, here are some tips on how to write a Curam Carer profile so you can make the most of showcasing your skills and abilities. When creating a profile make sure you:      •   Attach a good photo. It’s a great and important way to make a positive first impression on clients        •   Highlight your care condition expertise, hobbies, languages and qualifications      •   Tell people what you want to charge. This can be an hourly day/night rate, or a weekly live-in rate  NOTE: Don’t forget the rate you advertise will include our 12.5% commission plus VAT (the lowest in the sector). For example, if you advertise at £16, you will receive £13.60 an hour.     STEP 3 – Essential admin  Upload your documents on the Curam Carer app. These are all held securely on the platform and are not disclosed to anyone without your permission. The documents you will need to upload include:  - Your National Insurance Number  - Your DBS, PVG or NI Access number (enhanced DBS if you are looking for live-in care work) - The contact details of two references ( one of which must be a UK resident. We do not accept family members or friends) - Proof you have the right to work in the UK - Proof of any qualifications listed on your profile    STEP 4 – Book an on-line call  You’re almost there. We need to have an informal chat before we can approve your application. This will take about 15 minutes. Simply book a Whatsapp or Skype interview with one of our friendly Curam team at a time that suits you.      Welcome to Curam!  Once your application has been approved, your profile can go live. You will then have access to hundreds of advertised care placements on our jobs board and you can apply for any which suit you.  On the Curam platform we'll advertise your profile for free to all the Curam clients looking for a carer throughout the UK. We will also pay for your carer insurance and automatically update you about new jobs in your area via the app.   So, now you know how to sign up, take 20 minutes and join Curam’s better care community today. 

28 April 2020

How To Write A Standout Carer Profile

How To Write A Standout Carer Profile

How to write a great carer profile? Rest assured, it’s not hard when you know the basics. This Curam guide will help you improve your carer profile and give you the hints and tips needed to write what clients want to read. A good profile is a powerful way to market yourself to clients and a great help in getting new job offers.  Putting it simply, writing a great profile is the best way to attract clients. Our clients rely on carer profiles to help choose who to contact for work. The information in your profile is much more than a CV - it’s a chance to let your personality shine through. Care is about people, and the relationships we create. Care is a role which requires empathy, compassion and patience. Care is about closeness, the joy of supporting others to live independently, giving respite to struggling family members and helping people find peace at the end of their lives.  Here’s our guide to writing a great carers profile. The Carer app contains sections for: Contact details and rates Your qualifications and professional training courses: eg. NVQ levels, health & safety, Your expertise: e.g late stage dementia care Household duties: eg. administration, washing etc  Personal care duties: eg. bathroom assistance, grooming etc Your interests and hobbies A personal bio The ‘My Bio’ section - is the part of your personal profile which summarises all your skills. It’s the first impression you give clients.  THREE WORDS A good way to write a profile is to describe yourself in three words. The most successful profiles contain words and phrases which clients want to see.  ·      Compassionate ·      Caring ·      Kind ·      Friendly ·      Approachable ·      Good listener ·      Empathetic ·      Experienced ·      Professional ·      Hard working ·      Excellent communication skills ·      Skilled ·      Patient PROFILE 1: “I am kind, hardworking and a good communicator.” PROFILE 2: “I am patient, a good listener and enjoy working closely with others - especially older people.” PROFILE 3: “I am friendly, chatty and hard working.” INTRODUCTION Three word phrases are a good introduction for a carer profile - but they don’t work on their own. You need to give them meaning with short examples. Start by saying how many years experience you have as a carer.  PROFILE 1: “I have 7 years experience working in the care industry and have developed a compassionate approach. I work hard to get to know my clients, so I can help them enjoy their interests and hobbies.  PROFILE 2: “I have more than 10 years experience as a carer. I enjoy listening to older people, I am a very patient person and am always happy to work at my clients pace, following their lead.  PROFILE 3: “I have worked as a carer for 9 years now and work very efficiently. I enjoy my job and like talking with clients as I perform my duties.  EXPERIENCES Next, you need to tell clients what areas of care you can perform. It’s important to be honest so you find the right client.  Some areas to consider are: Conditions specialism (dementia, autism, stroke, children)  Skills (grooming, cooking, driving) Types of care (hourly, overnight, live-in, respite) PROFILE 1: “I have worked with people with dementia, chronic conditions and I have provided end of life care. Recently, I provided care for stroke rehabilitation including speech and language therapy. I also have experience of anxiety and depression care.” PROFILE 2: “I have worked in end of life care for many years, helping to make clients comfortable at home as a live in carer. I work well with other palliative care team members, such as doctors, and also with supporting family members with respite care.” PROFILE 3: “I am experienced in personal grooming and I enjoy helping clients look their best. I can assist with hygiene, toileting, eating, cooking, cleaning and any administrative tasks which need support. I have a full clean driving license and enjoy taking clients out to meet friends.”   WHY CARE? What made you become a carer? Do you have experiences outside of care which are interesting or relevant? A short answer can give clients a reason to believe you are the best.  PROFILE 1: “Before becoming a carer, I worked as a primary teacher for 20 years, I enjoyed the experience of working with children.” PROFILE 2: “I became a carer while looking after my partner. When he died, I decided to carry on, working as a live-in carer to support people with end of life needs.” PROFILE 3: “I love looking after other people, when my children left home, I decided to become a carer and continue what I’m good at.” ABOUT YOU Care is about the relationships we create. Clients often want to know if they share interests or hobbies - this can create a good connection with a new carer.  PROFILE 1: “I love reading, especially crime fiction novels. I am part of my local church and help to run the childrens activities. Last year, I got a Scottish terrier puppy called ‘Bobby’ and I love taking him on long walks.” PROFILE 2: “I am a good cook! It’s a big part of my life and I love trying out new recipes. I can bake well and once won a competition for my pineapple turnover cake.” PROFILE 3: “I’m passionate about sport - both watching and playing. I’m a Manchester United fan and play 5 a side every week with my friends.” SIGN OFF A goodbye, could turn into a hello. Encourage clients to contact you by keeping your sign off brief, polite and friendly.  PROFILE 1: “Please get in touch if you think I could help you.” PROFILE 2: “Contact me, and I’ll reply as soon as I can. Thank you.” PROFILE 3: “Get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.”   Each carer profile is unique - that’s because you are! The best Curam carer profiles present  their skills and experience, provide short professional examples and let a bit of their personality show.  Good luck! If you have any questions, please get in touch, so we can help you stand out on the CuramCarer App.  

26 November 2020

How to Make Curam Work For You

How to Make Curam Work For You

Are you looking for a self-employed carer? Maybe you’re thinking about how to make your care budget stretch a little further. Or, perhaps you’re fed up with an agency system that is slow, outdated and leaves you with little choice in your care provision.  If this sounds like you, Curam can solve your search for great value, professional care. We do things differently - we are creating a better care community.    What makes Curam different? ·      Our mission is to improve the lives of carers and clients with a better system of care provision ·      Our website and apps connect self-employed carers directly with clients all across the UK ·      We are a digital introduction, which nurtures real-life relationships ·      Our technology allows clients to pay less for a chosen carer who earns more ·      By offering choice Curam enables clients to live independently at home with a carer they can trust   Can I trust Curam? Yes. We are currently the UK’s largest online source of carers. Many Local Authorities, NHS Trusts and individual clients trust us to find experienced self-employed carers every day. But don’t just take our word for it, take a look at the independent reviews of our service on Trustpilot.    Is Curam expensive? Curam was created with a radical objective - build an online community of self-employed carers where everyone benefits from a fee structure which values great care.  What does that mean? It means you pay less for a carer who earns more.  Uniquely, Curam has the lowest commission fee in the sector. This is included in the carer’s advertised rate. There is no additional cost to you. On average, our carers charge £15 an hour. As one of our clients said “I had no idea my agency was taking 45% in fees. I felt it was unfair as my carer worked hard and was fantastic company. I feel good knowing Curam makes sure my carer is paid well.”   What is the difference between an agency and a self-employed carer? An agency employs carers and decides where and when they work. A self-employed carer works for themselves and is liable for their own tax and National Insurance contributions. As a client, you pay for their services in a similar way you would from a care agency. The main benefit with a Curam self-employed carer is that most of what you pay goes directly to them. This arrangement elevates their pay at no extra cost to you.  You can hear from real Curam carers about what it’s like being self-employed.   Who chooses a carer for me? You choose your carer. Curam has thousands of self-employed carers that our clients can review, interview and speak with before they choose to hire them. It’s care the way you want it.  Once you’ve found a carer you think is a good fit, you can negotiate rates and hours which fit your lifestyle and care needs.    I’m worried there’s lots of work involved in hiring self-employed carers Don't be worried - we and the carer take care of all the admin side.  When using a self-employed carer many people assume they’ll be burdened with DBS checks, tax and insurance. But not with Curam! Curam will: ·      Provide a secure online payment system ·      Verify all carers’ eligibility to work in the UK, check references, qualifications and enhanced DBS  ·      Facilitate the process of you hiring an experienced, insured and vetted carer   I’m not confident with technology - how do I use Curam? Curam was designed to be simple to use. It is free to join with no contracts, so becoming part of the community is easy. There are two easy ways to find a Curam self-employed carer:  Option 1: Sit back and wait Sign up Tell us your care needs and we will advertise for you through our Jobs page Sit back and wait for carers to contact you Option 2: Browse through the community    Sign up Search the carers who are available in your area Filter those who meet your care needs Shortlist the carers you think are a good match and make contact through the site Select your carer - you can get in touch through the platform to agree rates and services Enjoy your care - we will oversee service agreements and invoices   I’m worried I’ll be left without care if my carer is off sick Curam was established to improve the quality of care provision in the UK. Part of that is to support our carers. So, we designed the option for a ‘micro-team’ - a small community of Curam carers who can help each other by covering shifts. It is completely up to you whether you would like to take advantage of this system, you always have final say about who your carer will be.   If your carer is unwell, or unable to work at short-notice and you would like a member of their micro-team to take their place, they may be able to help. It’s an optional support system, but it can also be used for times when you need extra services if you would like them. The micro-teams are familiar with each other and able to share information quickly to support their clients.    Need any more information? If there’s anything you’re unsure about, our friendly Curam team is more than happy to help - client@curamcare.com. You can read our FAQs here or get in touch if you need further assistance.   

26 November 2020

The Benefits of Live-in Care

The Benefits of Live-in Care

It can be hard to choose between the round-the-clock care options that are currently available. If you’re considering the idea of residential care homes, but can’t face the bill which comes with it, what are your options?  Thankfully there is a safe, secure and caring alternative: live-in care.  Curam are the UK’s largest online platform for self-employed carers and have thousands of live-in carers working with clients all across the country. Thousands of families across the UK benefit from the services of experienced live-in carers, who look after loved ones night and day. We offer the best choice of live-in care for elderly people, those with short-term medical needs or care seekers who require assistance with tasks 24 hours a day.   Why live-in care? Live-in carers move into your home to care for you in the hours you need it. You could be considering live-in care for the first time or you might already have a live-in carer but need to consider additional live-in carers to facilitate breaks or respite for your current carer. The main benefit of a live-in carer from Curam? The ability to choose the carer who comes to stay.   Services which live-in carers can provide are varied and tailored to meet the needs of their individual client. This could be to: - Assist with physiotherapy as someone recovers from an operation - Prompt their client to take their medication - Change dressings - Help with personal care and bathroom assistance - Provide security, helping those who are most vulnerable to feel safe and secure in their home - Offer respite, so a family carer can take a break or go on holiday.    Where to find live-in carers There is currently a significant number of carers working through Curam as live in-carers. We receive almost universally positive feedback from our clients, which you can view on our Trust pilot review page. Why? Because Curam offers choice. You can find out more about how Curam approves live-in carers, but ultimately you decide which carer you feel comfortable living alongside. Keeping a feeling of control is very beneficial when we need to rely on others.  You can search for a live-in carer on our app or website. Alternatively, you can create a job ad where you will be able to look through the profiles of carers who have applied to be your carer. Remember, you don't have to search for a live-in carer near you, live-in carers are often prepared to travel to you from somewhere else in the country.   Who needs live-in care? Many people need live-in care. Sometimes, the decision is thrust upon you after an accident. A care plan for a broken hip may specify round-the-clock care. Live-in care can be an excellent option, especially in the short term, allowing you to be discharged quickly from hospital. Once at home, you have time to consider all the options available for future care. For people living with dementia conditions, life can be hazardous, confusing and unsettling. Remaining at home can bring comfort and peace and continuity of care is key. A carer who lives in your home can safely maintain the familiar routines of home.    Live-in care or residential care home? Residential care homes provide every service available through a large workforce of specialist staff. For some, this will be the only safe option for care provision.  The costs of residential care vary depending on needs, location and availability. It can be frustrating to not find a suitable space near to family and friends. Looking for care services in London is easier than say, in rural Cornwall where demand for spaces is higher. Live-in care is often a more cost-effective alternative and allows you to stay at home for longer.    Benefits of live-in care There are many benefits to live-in care. Staying in the comfort of your own home is beneficial fro your physical and mental health and allows you to live as independently as possible, whilst still getting the support and attention you need. Here are just some of the benefits of live-in care with Curam:        1. Dedicated care A live-in carer provides focussed care throughout the day and night. The client is the only person they look after, there are no other distractions or responsibilities. A live-in carer is dedicated to just one person.        2. Limiting Contact Limiting contact with others is another reason many people prefer live-in care over residential care. The pandemic in 2020 saw a huge surge in live-in care requests. Families sought ways to keep family members safe from external factors which spread illness, such as visitors and rotating carers.       3. Home Safety There are dangers at home. A live-in carer can identify trip hazards and prevent accidents and falls, allowing a person to navigate their home safely. Being in your home means they’re on hand through the day or night.      4. Protecting the vulnerable Other risks for vulnerable people come in the form of unscrupulous cold-callers by telephone, doorstep campaigns or online scams. A live-in carer can help limit the impact of these unwanted visitors.       5. Dementia Care Having a continuous, familiar carer who lives with you can be a blessing to those living with dementia. The benefits of remaining at home with a carer are enormous for those who struggle with Alzheimers. Continuing life in peaceful, safe and recognisable surroundings can improve the quality of life not just for the individual, but also for their family.      6. Companionship What happens to the cat? One of the most painful consequences of residential care is the separation of pets. Many care homes will not allow animals as they have the health of other residents to consider. For many isolated people, pets bring joy and comfort. Live-in carers often extend their compassion to four legged friends - walking, feeding and grooming them so they remain at the heart of your home. A carer provides a further source of companionship and can listen to someone's stories, worries and feelings.      7. Independence For families who live far away, a live-in carer is an essential point of contact for when they want updates or to visit their loved one. There’s no need to leave messages, go through a switch board or stick to the strict regulations of visiting hours. Friends and family can reach a live-in carer instantly, bringing peace of mind and comfort when it’s needed.    Find a live-in carer today! Curam live-in carers provide assistance with personal hygiene, companionship and domestic tasks in your home. They are insured, vetted and experienced - available to help you whenever you need it and chosen by you.  If you’re thinking of hiring a live-in carer, download the Curam app and start searching for self-employed carers across the UK. 

19 November 2020

Good Mental Health Coming Out of Lockdown

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.  For those who have been shielding, vulnerable to the virus or living with mental health conditions, coming out of lockdown may 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

How Curam Can Make Your Care Budget Go Further

How Curam Can 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 £20 an hour.  Did you know the carer who arrives is often paid only a fraction of what you pay for their services? 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.    How can we help? We hear you - It’s a frustrating situation for everyone and we don't believe it is an efficient or safe way to deliver care. Not in the 21st Century, when so many more people are seeking ways to continue living life independently, at home.  Therefore, we designed Curam to make it far easier 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 carers. So, how does Curam help your care budget stretch further?   A radical new model of care Curam’s carers earn on average £13.60 per hour after our fees and VAT, almost double the national rate.  You can see how that’s more motivating to an experienced carer - they feel valued for their work.  Also, our fees are the lowest in the sector at 12.5% + VAT. Our fee not only covers the costs of marketing for carers, but also includes carer insurance, DBS checks and a secure online payment system. That way everyone feels safe and secure. However, not only does Curam help carers to receive a better rate for their work, we also make it easier for your care budget to stretch further. You browse our site, shortlist and select a carer of your choice and pay them a negotiated rate. On average, £16 an hour.  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 with Curam can be kept as savings, or you can use the difference to purchase additional hours of care. You have choice and control over your care plan and budget.    Needs Assessments Care Budget If you have had a needs assessment recently, 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 carers can deliver quality care quickly, safely and within budget constraints, whilst still getting a better rate for the care they deliver. 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! If your are paying for your own care, we could help you get more out of your savings. There are also other ways you can get help with self-funding care in the UK. On top of this, 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, overnight - it’s up to you.   Managing your Care Budget As Curam uses a 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 that great value care comes from valuing great carers. Be a part of our better care community and sign up today.

14 July 2020

Meet our Curam carers 

Meet our Curam carers 

Did you know the Beatles wrote a song about care? Okay, not directly about care. As a 1960s band, they had no experience working as a personal carer - but they did understand what makes us happy. Something Carole, who’s been a carer for 22 years, knows too. “Honestly, it’s wonderful, I learn and laugh so much every day.” Modern life is busy, full of pressure, expectation and numerous challenges. Most of us want to feel that we are in control of our working lives, that we have the choice and flexibility to enjoy life on our own terms. So how can we make our day ‘wonderful’? More to the point - what exactly is Carole doing that makes her life so different? It turns out, the secret to happiness is... helping others. We spoke to several Curam carers who believe a career as a self-employed carer is a happy one. The act of caring for another, of putting someone else’s needs first, is what gives them satisfaction and meaning. Not convinced? Here’s an ancient proverb from China: “If you want happiness for a lifetime - help someone else.” Apparently, it works both ways. Hundreds of clients tell us how their carer has transformed their lives. Often, it’s the gift of time which is most appreciated. They cherish having someone to speak with, laugh with, share their worries with. Finding that real connection with another person. “I choose to work in care because I have a lot to give, a lot of experience.” Carole has been a carer for two decades and her beaming smile shows she’s not ready to quit. “I love older people; I like to be around them and I feel I have a real connection with them. They will tell you stuff from yester-year that you had no idea about. They're always funny. Yes, I help them, but I learn a lot too.”   Carole has been a carer for 22 years. For Ivan, who works as a self-employed carer, it’s the little things which motivate him. “It’s not about the money. It’s about sharing my compassion, kindness and love for people in the right way. I’m a happy person, I want to share that. I like making a difference to people’s lives.” Many carers enjoy helping clients navigate everyday problems. In ten years as a carer, Ivan has seen the value that adds. “When you are working together to help a client reach a goal it’s brilliant.” Ivan loves being able to fit his work around spending time with his family.  He recalls how he helped a client embrace new technology. “He was struggling with an old phone and worried he would lose contacts and photos if he changed. For me, it was simple. Together we went to the shop, I helped him explain to the sales assistant exactly what he needed. In an hour we left with a new handset which was easier to use. He gained some confidence and it’s little moments like that which are a delight.” Thinking about the needs of others is at the heart of great care, something Clare was able to consider from both sides. “The thing that steered me towards live-in care was that I had a partner diagnosed with inoperable cancer. Within ten months, he died. We lived the craziest life; we had the best and worst of times. Afterwards, I thought, I can do this. I can create a difference in someone’s life. I can shape the quality of it. That’s what I like about care work.” The relationship between carer and service user is what makes Curam unique. Carole explains how choice has made her work more enjoyable. “Choice is very important to clients. The personal care services we give means the client must be happy with the service they receive and happy with the carer. Being able to choose your carer helps create a relationship which works well.” “I was able to write my own profile to attract people to me on the platform. That’s important. My current clients saw my skills and experience and chose me based on that.” Like all Curam carers, Carole was able to create a profile which service users can read before they decide to message her. As a palliative carer, speaking with clients before accepting a job gives Clare more confidence in her role. “I want them to know I can make a difference to the whole family. They can see I am giving everything, so they can enjoy the company of their loved one as fully as possible for their last few weeks of life.” Clare strongly believes that care must be client-centred.Choice gives flexibility, something Ivan thinks makes caring fun. “You can be more creative, energetic, and closer to the wishes of the clients when you are self-employed. I have more freedom. Hours which suit both me and my client. This gives me more time to spend with my family.” Care work is flexible. It fits around other commitments which bring us closer to home. It’s something Carole knows is vital for her clients too, “Home is where we feel most happy. I love that care workers help people stay in their own home to continue to live independently. For me, that’s so important.” Living at home with clients, Clare saw how happiness came from shifting expectations. “Care needs to be client centred. A gentle, natural rhythm and progression of care, so they have a nice day. Life changes all the time. Every day is a different day. Every day has an opportunity.” So, what do the Beatles have to do with working as a carer? It’s back to Carole to explain. With her experience, she knows working as a carer can be a challenge, but also hugely rewarding. “Consider what it really all means. All you need is love. All the clients I look after just need love and attention. It’s a special song to me, because it’s so true.” There’s a reason why we are the largest online source of carers in the UK - we do things differently. We offer choice and value our great carers. Join our better care community today. Looking for a carer? Join here – there are no upfront fees. Carer? Sign up and join thousands who’ve made the easy switch to self-employed care.

08 June 2020

Maintaining Good Mental Health Whilst Self-Isolating

Maintaining Good Mental Health Whilst Self-Isolating

While the UK works to control the coronavirus outbreak, many of us are self-isolating to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the vulnerable members of our communities. We understand the reasons why self-isolating is important in the battle against COVID-19, but that doesn’t stop it from being an emotionally-testing time. Human beings are sociable by nature and spending long periods of time alone can affect our mental health and wellbeing. Here are some of the ways we can help protect our mental health and stay well during the coronavirus crisis until normal daily life resumes: ·    Keeping in contact   ·    Maintaining a routine   ·    Avoiding boredom  ·    Reaching-out     Maintain contact We may be physically cut off from our friends and family, but we’re lucky to live in a time when technology means that they are only a touch, click or tap away. Video conferencing allows us to ‘see’ friends and family and is accessible through almost any phone or device. These apps, such as FaceTime, Zoom or Skype are surprisingly straight forward to use and are the next best thing to seeing your loved ones in person. If you don’t have access to a suitable device or are not quite ready for the world of virtual meetings, a straight-forward phone call can keep you feeling connected to the outside world. It might be worth asking whoever you’re chatting with whether they can give you some guidance on how to set up video calls too. You’re bound to have a bit more time on your hands when self-isolating, so it’s the perfect time to dig out that old writing set and get back to basics. Sending and receiving letters can help lift the spirits and a letter sent with love can be re-read time and time again. Remember that you won’t be able to get out to the post box if you’re self isolating so, if you have someone delivering food supplies to your door, check whether they’d be happy to send it for you.   Stick to a routine The days can feel really long when you can’t leave the house and it can be easy to lose track of your daily routine. You might find that you’re less productive right now – and that’s ok. But remembering to keep up with the basics will make a huge difference in retaining a sense of normality and staying well. Try to keep to your usual sleep patterns and avoid too many lie-ins. Get up, out of bed, washed and dressed. Stick to regular mealtimes and eat a healthy diet as you normally would. Drinking plenty of water and eating nutritious meals will help to improve your mood. If your daily or weekly routine usually involves exercise, try to keep it going. If you don’t exercise much generally – now’s a good time to start! Even gentle exercise around your home, like cleaning and gardening, can get the heart pumping and improve your mood. If you can get out into the fresh air, even better, as spending time outside has been shown to help improve mental health.   Keep boredom at bay Whilst we’re all spending time at home, away from friends and family, things can get a little boring. Boredom might just seem like an unwanted inconvenience, but it has actually been shown to contribute to anxiety, depression, changes in eating habits and increased alcohol consumption. Finding ways to stay occupied and stimulated while you’re isolating will help protect your mental health. Creative hobbies have been shown to support mental wellbeing, so that might be a good place to start if you’re looking for inspiration. Here are some creative activities you could try: ·    Painting or sketching ·    Colouring-in books ·    Baking or cooking ·    Knitting or crocheting ·    Crafting or decorating using recycling  ·    Writing or journaling  ·    Playing music or singing ·    Dancing or yoga Jigsaw puzzles, sudoku or crosswords can be good for challenging yourself. Maybe now is also the perfect time to try something new, like learning a language, creating a zoom quiz or joining an online sports class.  While you want to avoid getting bored, it’s also worth pointing out that you shouldn’t put any pressure on yourself to be productive or to learn a new skill during this time. If that feels a bit much and you need downtime to process what’s going on around us, that’s fine too.   Reach out Despite taking measures to stay well, some of us will inevitably experience feelings of loneliness, anxiety and worry during this difficult time. It’s important to remember that many of us are in the same boat and we can help and support each other. Local and national charities around the UK have increased mental health support services and can offer telephone support and advice for those who are self isolating: - The NHS offers some fantastic advice on maintaining good mental health during this crisis - Support is available from Age UK - MIND are here to help as well

29 April 2020