Tips from other carers
Carers have suggested the following practical hints for those new to caring:
Learn to recognise when symptoms are bad as the person you care for may need extra support. Remember that pain may make them irritable, angry and depressed at times.
Be patient if the person in your care has to do things differently and more slowly. They may find it difficult to carry out normally simple tasks and they may be embarrassed. If you notice changes in their behaviour, it may be because they need help. You or a healthcare professional may be able to help by raising this tactfully.
Talk about how roles may have to change – a rheumatology nurse specialist or an occupational therapist can help. Be sensitive to the feelings of the person in your care – it may be difficult to watch someone else doing their job.
Join in with exercises and encourage the person you care for to find activities to replace ones that they can no longer manage. Useful activities such as voluntary work or an educational course can make some people feel better.
If the person you're caring for would like you to go to hospital or GP appointments with them, most doctors would be supportive of this.
Don't let yourself to become isolated and look after your own health and well-being. Make sure that you still take part in the activities that are important to you and remember that you have needs as well. Caring can be hard work. At times you may feel irritable and depressed – which is normal and understandable. If it appeals to you, join a local support group. You can also get advice from Carers UK.