Help and support for carers Services Looking after your health as a carer Being a carer can be hard work but you need to make sure you look after yourself too. Keeping healthy will reduce the risk of you being unable to look after someone due to a problem with your own health. Below are some top tips on keeping healthy and making sure you look after your own needs: Tell your GP or health professional that you are a carer. Tell your doctor if you’re feeling low and ask what help they can give you. If you’re looking after someone, look after yourself too. You matter just as much as the person you care for. Look after your health. Make sure you get regular check-ups from your doctor. If you’ve got a symptom you’re concerned about, get it checked out quickly. Don’t leave it to get worse. Try to take a few minutes every to relax and centre yourself and do something that lifts your mood. Look after yourself emotionally. Caring is hard, and can be draining and make you feel depressed, low or anxious. Talk to us, or other carers, friends or family members about how you feel. Join one of our support groups or activities to meet other carers. Ask for help, people often want to help but don’t know how. Give them specific things that need doing and specific times you need them to come. They may well be pleased to be asked and this could give you a welcome break. Take a break, even for a few hours. This will help your recharge your batteries. Use this for your interests if you can, rather than chores like grocery shopping. You may be able to get some funding to help with the cost of respite services as part of a Needs or Carers Assessment from Adult Social Services. To ask for a carers assessment contact Redbridge Social Services on 0208 708 7333 Don’t feel alone. Get in touch with other carers or other people with interests similar to yours. If it’s difficult to get out, you could join an online group if you have access to a computer. Redbridge Carers Support Service hold regular support groups where you can meet other carers for mutual support or to socialise. We also provide volunteer befrienders who can visit you at home for a chat or take you out. If you would like a volunteer just call us. Eat well. A balanced diet includes at least five different portions of fruit and vegetables a day (either fresh, frozen or tinned). A third of your diet should consist of starchy foods (bread, cereals, potatoes, pasta and rice). Also try to cut back on salt, sugar, saturated fats and 'trans fats' which can push up your cholesterol level and increase your risk of heart disease. Your GP can provide you with dietary advice. Exercise, even going for a walk around the block or doing a few stretching exercises can help improve your fitness and mobility. Exercise can also lift your mood and help you sleep better. Join one of our weekly activities like Tai Chi, Chair Based or yoga to improve your health and wellbeing. You can make friends too.