Former civil servant, Frank, dedicates his life to supporting carers. His determination to help others in need comes from his personal experience and strong relationships with other carers within his lifelong community.
Frank uses the lessons he learnt caring for his own mum, to improve the wellbeing of those around him. Through one of our partner organisations, Tide, we spoke to Frank about our Carers Digital Resources. Frank’s insight, and the insight of all carers, plays a crucial role in how we continuously adapt and shape our services.
Passionate about The Charity for Civil Servants’ holistic and tailored approach, he wants to encourage others to make the most of what the Charity has to offer.
Our Digital Carers Resources
“In 2006, mum had a major stroke and unbeknown to the family, had also been diagnosed with an early form of vascular dementia some 14 years prior. Mum's stroke was a major turning point in my life. I was suddenly responsible for her personal care. It was a massive change. These things aren’t planned for, so it’s not as if you can prepare yourself for them.
I’ve learnt from experience that it’s important to know what type of support is available to you. I’d encourage other carers to look at The Charity for Civil Servants’ website and get in touch. Find out exactly what you and the person you support, is entitled to. Without information (for example, on how your local health and social services systems operate) you can’t take the next steps.”
If you are a carer, our Carers Digital Resource will help you to understand your current position so you feel more in control. In particular, our Dementia Support Service provides information and the opportunity to talk to an Admiral Nurse, so that you can get the specialist support and advice you deserve.
Difficulties with approaching your employer
“If you find yourself in a similar situation, I advise you not to keep it to yourself, talking to colleagues can be really helpful. Saying that, even before mum had a stroke, my personal life was my personal life. The Civil Service Carers Passport will help you navigate these difficult conversations with your manager and The Charity for Civil Servants can help you get this in place.”
Our Carers Passport and Carers Statement Digital Tool can help you. This tool is designed to help carers reflect on their responsibilities as care providers. Once completed, it gives you a full record of your answers, which in turn, will help you complete your Civil Service Carer’s Passport form and provides you with a personalised Action Plan. This plan contains tailored advice and signposts you to additional resources that may be helpful to care for yourself and others.
We also provide you with a Carer's Statement that you can use to inform health and social care professionals about your caring role, to help you access the support you need.
Looking after your own wellbeing
“It’s vital to look after your own wellbeing if you are a carer. When I looked after mum, I didn’t look after myself. I used to comfort-eat and my weight ballooned. A lot of this is in hindsight, but if I wasn’t looking after myself, how could I possibly look after mum? I know how tough it is to do, but if you can take steps to focus on your own wellbeing, then you’ll be doing the best you can for the person you care for.
Try and find time to do something you enjoy, even if it’s just for an hour a week, respite is so important. It’s equally important to do this when the person you care for passes away. You’ve got to have something to look forward to.”
Keeping in touch with your Civil Service community
“There’s a real benefit in helping other people. It’s not just about telling my story, it’s about encouraging others to tell their story, which in turn, will help someone else. I can compare the Civil Service community to the two dementia carer groups I run. Belonging to this community can be used as an opportunity to open up about what you’re going through. You might find that you can relate to others.
You might even make new friends who are, or have been, in a similar situation to you. These are people that understand exactly what you’re going through and not only do you learn from each other; you’ll also be able to release any tension you’ve been hiding at home.”
Donating to The Charity for Civil Servants
“The work that the Charity does is so important, both for past and present civil servants. Without their support, it’s very difficult to access information anywhere else. If you support The Charity for Civil Servants, you’re helping a lot of people who have no one else to turn to. That’s worth everything.”
Make a real difference to people like Frank. Donate today and change someone’s life.