Guideposts – Supporting carers during the covid crisis

Author – Matthew Jones – CEO Guideposts Trust

For people in our community with complex needs, the care provided to them by family and friends is essential. Over two million people will become Carers in 2021, many of which will have no previous experience of caring. Some won’t even realise that they are performing the role of a Carer and that there are so many others in a similar position who they could turn to for support. 

Through groups like our Dementia Carer Support Group Guideposts have been able to bring Carers together into an informal environment where they can be amongst people who are going through similar journeys. This brings huge comfort for many of our attendees as it allows them to talk openly about their situation, to learn from others and realise that they are not alone

2020 has been a tough year for Carers. Many of the support services they rely on stopped and as a primary Carer the weight of responsibility has fallen on their shoulders to look after their loved ones around the clock. This can be both physically and mentally exhausting. 

We quickly realised that we were not going to be able to meet during lockdown as usual, so we moved many of our support services to online video sessions instead. This allowed many of our existing community to continue to meet and also allowed new people to join that usually could not. 

This new online approach has allowed us and the community to become even more connected with the families and friends of our members and to understand more about them and their lives. 

Many people stepped up during lockdown and we really got to understand who the key workers are in our communities.   It became even more apparent how vital the 6 million  unpaid carers in the UK are in holding together the fabric of this country and caring for the most vulnerable. 

We are really looking forward to meeting up again in person, when possible, but now that we have all got over the hurdles around online meetings, it is going to form a crucial part of our service delivery moving forward.

We continue to be encouraged by the messages of thanks we have received from our community.

“Thank you for today’s uplifting programme, we could feel the beat of life being awakened again in the brains of people who are sad and lonely.

This afternoon we learned a lot; we love music and we have seen how much our friend Jane has benefited from her music – we have always known this is the way to calm Jane down and take her to a place where she feels safe.

It was extremely interesting for us to know that all around the world, whatever your musical heritage, the BEAT is what wakes your brain and moves your body.”

“John and I would like to say that we value these conferences, they open many doors in our minds and hearts, and help us to understand, recognise and share what we are learning from your speakers and guests.”

Carers give so much of themselves in the work that they do that we wanted to give something back to them, so we have focused our Christmas appeal on the work we do with Carers in the hope to be able to help even more in 2021.

If you would like to support us, you can do so here 

Matthew Jones – CEO – Guideposts