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Julia is helped to care for her mum through direct payments via Ealing Direct

Caring for the carers – with direct support

Caring for someone you love can be difficult at times. But, with the right support, Julia is able to support her mother while still having a life of her own.

“My mother has had care needs for about six years and has a number of health issues that mean she’s unable to move around freely,” Julia told us. “I help with personal care and also being there for my mother so she’s not on her own. In saying that, she’s independent most of the time but does need assistance with daily tasks.

“Caring for her is restrictive at times. I previously worked full-time in care for 30 years but, because of my commitment to my mother, I now work one day a week and this has put pressure on my finances and social life.”

With support from the council’s Ealing Direct service, Julia, 49, has been able to find some time for herself and ‘direct payments’ are also helping her to lead a healthier life.

Through direct payments, the council gives money directly to local people to pay for their agreed care needs. And the Care Act introduced in 2015 means these payments can be available to informal carers who support vulnerable adults.

Julia, who lives in Northolt, said: “My caring duties have stopped me from working full time and that has an impact on me financially and socially. The social aspect has diminished. Even though now I can see my friends now and again, I have to plan a bit.”

‘It makes me think about myself and my own health’

She chose to use her direct payments to make arrangements that allow her to go to her local gym on a regular basis. As well as monitoring the payment arrangements, the Ealing Direct service has provided information, advice and support.

She said: “The council has been really good. I had a carer’s assessment because I was isolated, and I also had potential health issues. A friend of mine goes down to the gym and it was something that was suggested to me, too.

“Going to the gym takes my mind off caring and it makes me think about myself and my own health. I’ve actually lost some weight, which is an added bonus.

“My mum goes to a day centre three times a week. She gets her hair done on a Monday and she has dinner there as well. It’s a godsend for her. On those days I can go to the gym and do what I want to do.

“The other day I was at Northolt Leisure Centre, the music was playing and I was cycling away with a smile on my face. I thought to myself ‘I’m really enjoying this’, and it means a lot to concentrate on myself because I don’t do that a lot.”

More information

If you have care needs, the Social Care Advice and Referral Centre can help you find the best options to enable you to stay independent:

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