While the Carers Support Centre has been closed to visitors since March, the service has been supporting carers with advice, information and activities online and over the phone throughout the pandemic. Staff have kept the community updated with vital information, including government guidance, as well as information about how to access additional support.
The covid-19 pandemic affected carers in many ways, sadly for some, it resulted in the death of their loved one. In many cases this unexpected loss, combined with limited or in some cases no support due to the lockdown was a very traumatic experience for them. Many faced delays in holding their loved ones funeral.
As soon as the impact of the pandemic on carers within Croydon became clear, Carers Information Service adapted their bereavement service model to best meet the needs of the community. With many grieving alone without support, bereavement counsellor offered one to one telephone bereavement counselling to those in need.
Those engaging were given a weekly 50 minute telephone appointment whereby they could express how they were feeling and – for the first time for some – know that they had been heard.
The amazing work of the team at the Carers Information Service was highlighted in this touching message for one carer: “You listened to me when I had no one else who knew the pain I was going through. The pain of losing my Dad will never go away but you have made it easier for me to understand my feelings and to know that I did my best and I couldn’t have changed things. I wasn’t sure whether I would commit to counselling but I looked forward to each and every session. Thank you for being my shoulder to cry on when I needed it and for helping me realise I can go on. You’ve changed my life”
In addition to the emotional support offered, the service also assisted carers who have been unable to self-fund their loved ones funeral. We have assisted with applications for financial assistance for Funeral Expenses Payments and Bereavement Support Payments.
This has been a challenging time for all, so the range of activities the Carers Information Service are delivering throughout the pandemic has been a welcomed distraction. The team have embraced technology by using video conferencing software for activities including Carers Choirs practices and Dance classes.