Hear my voice | Carers’ wellbeing

As part of Carers Week we are hosting a further blog from a carer, this time talking about his experience and how employers can help with all sorts of alternative ways of helping with some of the issues:

“Businesses regularly state that they support ‘solutions through innovation’ yet often they continually only look for mainstream answers.

“At times Carers need additional assistance to manage their workload and the recent legislative developments, which give Carers the same rights as those that they care for, mean employers have a superb opportunity to show their employees they care too.

“As a carer, and someone who has experience of needing assistance due to depression, I am a great advocate of employers providing both in-house help and comprehensive guidance on where to go for help.

“As a ‘quick win’ an easily accessible and comprehensive list of contacts can be invaluable to employees who need a source of advice. This should not only include the NHS support groups and organisations which offer self-help courses, but also information on finding complementary practitioners.

“There are common medical answers to dealing with stress, but there are also many, many sources of mind body and spirit therapies available to employees. These are overseen by national or local bodies responsible for regulating practitioners and providing advice on a huge range of complementary therapies. Complementary therapies should not be undertaken as an alternative to medical assistance, but in association with them.

“Employers could arrange taster sessions for different therapies at lunchtimes; Reiki, meditation, basic aromatherapy, and Indian head massage to aid stress relief and stress induced headaches. Or community acupuncture sessions which treat small groups, rather than individual sessions, could be arranged, therefore spreading the cost amongst all participants and making it cheaper for all.

“Increasing wellbeing by thinking about working environments would also be useful. If a heightened stress level means an employee needs to take a short break to ‘recharge the batteries’, perhaps a room where comfortable seats, or lots of floor cushions could be provided. They could be lit by subdued lighting and natural sounds of woodlands, streams, birds and breezes could be played.

“Gardens are known to aid relaxation and where practical employers could set up sensory gardens with plants which have a distinctive scent or touch. Coloured flowers, ponds and running water could be used for the enjoyment of all staff; this also links with the theory of colour therapy.

“Though change and job insecurities, depression and stress affect many people, for those employees who already manage a high level of stress, such as carers, the negative effects on personal health can be heightened. The more employers can do to limit the levels of depression and stress, the more it will bring down the costs of employee sick leave and other hours of business lost.”

– Working age carer, Essex