A ground-breaking new pilot project funded by Buckinghamshire County Council is set to support hundreds of elderly carers, who devote their lives to looking after vulnerable loved ones at home.
The scheme, which is due to start in September 2016, will support 300 carers aged 75 or over in Aylesbury.
Run by local charity Carers Bucks the initiate will support these people with expert guidance about financial support, friendship groups and how they and their loved ones stay well and active. The carers will also be supported to get further help if needed.
Brian Roberts, Chairman of the County Council’s Greater Aylesbury Local Area Forum, explained: ‘We know there are hundreds of elderly carers in the Aylesbury area who are looking after relatives suffering from ill-health.
Carers are the unsung heroes in our communities, toiling day to day to look after their loved ones without any consideration for their own health or wellbeing. This means they often become ill themselves or become socially isolated. We feel that some additional support could make all the difference, and that’s why our Local Area Forum agreed to allocate £7,000 to this great initiative.‘
To pay for the service nearly £35,000 is required, The Rothschild Foundation has now given £10,000 and Carers Bucks is applying to other trusts and charities for the rest of the funding.
Carers Bucks# Chief Executive Stephen Archibald said: ‘We are really pleased to have been awarded the funding from the Aylesbury Local Area Forum for our Caring for Older Carers project.
Through this service we will now be able to provide dedicated face-to-face contact and support to carers over 75 who are caring for a loved one, and who themselves may have health problems or struggle to cope.
Trained support staff will visit the carers at home and work with them and provide the help and advice necessary to enable them to continue in their caring role for as long as possible.‘
The Carers Bucks support staff will contact carers and arrange home visits, or offer support sessions such as telephone support, group support, email, texting and Skype.
Staff are trained in motivational interviewing techniques which help carers look at their situation afresh and develop strategies to improve their well being. They also promote simple mindfulness techniques to help with low-level depression and anxiety
Martin Phillips, County Council Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Health, said: ‘It’s very important that we provide this type of support.
There are so many people in our community battling heroically to keep their families afloat, but the cost to their own health is often immense.
It makes sense from both a caring point of view, as well as a financial one, to nip their problems in the bud wherever we can by giving them the extra help that they might never know they need but which could make all the difference.
The Council can help through our tried and tested Prevention Matters scheme which has proven that early intervention really does work.‘
Further information on the Prevention Matters scheme can be found at : http://www.careadvicebuckinghamshire.org/preventionmatters
Carers Bucks can be contacted by phone on 0300 777 2722 or on the web at www.carersbucks.org.