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An older woman standing by a tree

How to get started when you become a carer

An older woman standing by a tree

Whether you have recently become a carer or have been caring for many years, it can sometimes be difficult to even know even where to start and what services and support are available to suit your individual situation and needs.

Liz Dennis is a carer for her husband who was diagnosed with dementia in 2023, after they had moved to East Dunbartonshire.

Liz said: “My husband’s memory wasn’t great and then he was diagnosed with dementia. We were  new to the area, and we did not know anyone here. It was difficult to know where to start to get help. After helpful advice from the  Citizens Advice Bureau,  we were referred to Carers Link. The team were so gentle and supportive, and they helped to guide me through the advocacy process. I managed to get all of the information at the right time and that gave me confidence to find what I was looking for”.

Advocacy means getting support to ensure that your  views, opinions and wishes are listened to and considered when decisions are made about the individual you are caring for. Our advocacy team can help you. They can speak on your behalf to help you gain access to information and to explore options  and consider possible outcomes.

 “The Legal Clinic has been  very helpful” Liz said. “People can flounder if they know what they are looking for but cannot find it.  The lawyer gave me all the information that I needed to carefully consider our situation. It has helped me to make decisions  to support planning ahead”.

As well as Advocacy, Carers Link offers a monthly Legal Clinic that is free of charge and can provide information and advice. It gives carers the chance to have a short one to one meeting with a solicitor to ask questions or seek legal advice on issu

es such as Power of Attorney, Guardianship, Wills, Care Home fees and related issues.  (The Legal Clinic cannot provide financial or benefits advice).

“My initial contact was with the team leader, over the telephone, who advised me of what was available as a base line, where to start and what to apply for. The emails and e-bulletins are very well set out so that it is easy to identify your own need and work with what suits you.

“I attend a monthly Carers Cafe that is well run and organised. Everyone is given a chance to share their experiences, relevant information is provided when needed and relevant questions are asked to guide thought processes and needs.

“I have had a lot of 

help from the tech buddy service and had advice on buying a new laptop and it has been set up and is working!  

“I find the Mindfulness sessions helpful and useful.  They are well run and inclusive. I saw the possibility of respite breaks for carers through the Carer’s Link e-bulletin.  I got in touch and the availability of what would suit my needs is being investigated. 

Our information service keeps carers up to date with wellbeing sessions that aim to give carers a break and offer friendship and support as well as funding for short breaks. Monthly what’s on and weekly e-bulletins, offer a calendar of activities from mindfulness, to getting online, yoga, a walking group, while carer cafes are a place to meet and chat and other carers.

“Caring for a loved one with dementia is really challenging in many ways.  Carers Link have been invaluable in their friendship and support”.

If you are caring for someone you can contact Carers Link today

Carers Link can help  get you started or support you in your caring role.  We are  local and dedicated to providing a range of  free services from support, advocacy and information to wellbeing classes, a legal clinic  and breaks for unpaid carers of all ages who live or care for someone within the East Dunbartonshire area.