Somerset Carers Newsletter: Issue 5 - Summer 2020

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Somerset Carers Newsletter

Issue Five: Summer 2020

In this issue.... l Carers Academy Somerset Survey l Healthwatch Somerset Focus on Care l Hydration and UTI’s l Micro Providers l Creative respite in lockdown l Creative Carers Connect l Sedgemoor Carers Facebook Group l Staying Safe Online l Who to contact for support in Somerset u For Carers u Useful Contacts

Stay Connected The pandemic has forced many of us to be creative in the way we stay connected with one another. This issue explores how Carers can find connections with other people online, & includes ideas for respite in non traditional ways, such as facebook groups or online forums. We hope you find it useful and are able to find a way of virtually meeting people with shared hobbies and interests. Also - we need you! We need Carers to feedback to us about what YOU need to help YOU in your caring role. Please take part in our very short Carers Academy survey on the next page.

Carers Academy Survey for Somerset The Community Council for Somerset (CCS) are exploring how to develop a ‘Carers Academy’ which brings together in one place training & events that are specifically for Carers in Somerset. CCS want to bring together a partnership of all agencies supporting anyone undertaking a caring role - whether you care for a friend, family member, or are a paid worker, & have these organisations list all their training, events and advice in one easy to navigate map & directory.

We need your input to shape the best training service we can for Carers! What do you need?

Would you use an app ? How should training be offered in the future? When would be the best time to run training? If we offered on-line training – would you be interested?

Click below to answer 5 short questions & let us know! Have you used to access information you might need as a Carer?

You may know its a one stop shop for carers to access advice, information, as well as connecting you to your local Carers Agent and other teams across the county, especially via the Who Can Help You section.

Healthwatch Somerset

What is this survey about?

Healthwatch Somerset is the County’s independent health and care champion. It exists to ensure that people are at the heart of care & has launched #BecauseWeAllCare campaign, calling on local people to feedback about care during COVID-19 to help services recover and improve. These views are then shared with the decision-making organisations, so together a real difference can be made.

With health and social care services under mounting pressure due to the corona-virus (COVID-19), there may be an impact on how you get the care and support you need. People are likely to have different experiences depending on their needs and the severity of their symptoms.

We are interested in hearing about how this virus outbreak may be changing the way in which you access local services, particularly if you rely on them for regular care. You can also tell us about how services responded to you if you have become unwell with COVID-19 symptoms. You can share your experiences and feedback, confidentially, by completing the online survey (click below link) or by contacting the local office on 01278 264405. CoronavirusHWS/ HealthWatch says Somerset has wonderful community support for carers - this was feedback they received about our service - thank you !


The Carers Service and Village Agents has just been wonderful and so helpful. Some other charities seem to have closed recently, so it has been great to receive support from my local Village Agent from the start of this situation.

Hydration & UTI P Hydration

Good hydration can assist in preventing or treating ailments such as: l l l l l

Urinary infections and incontinence Memory or thinking problems Constipation Dizziness leading to falls Reduces hospital admissions


Thirst is the body’s natural response to dehydration, however this is far less effective in older people, and people who have had a stroke or are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, who can be particularly insensitive to thirst. Many people need to be reminded to drink more fluids to maintain healthy hydration levels – are you drinking enough fluid? Using a simple check list of how many drinks you have in a day and how many times you go to the toilet will tell you or your carers if you need to take more drinks. Dehydration occurs when the body loses water faster than it can be replenished. A simple method to track your body’s hydration levels is by monitoring your urine, the colour of your urine can reflect how much water your body needs. Use the pee chart overleaf to score your urine 1-8 to see if you need to drink more. Dehydration can occur as a result of: l Not drinking enough fluid, such as water, squash or juice l Memory or thinking problems l Changes in functional ability

l Excessive exposure to heat or exercise

l Medication such as laxatives, diuretics or hypnotics

l Illness such as diarrhoea and/or vomiting and other infections

Prevention Common signs of dehydration: l Skin that has less elasticity than normal can be a sign of dehydration l Urine that has an odour l Urine being dark in colour: healthy, hydrated urine is pale lemon or straw coloured

Top 10 Hydrating Foods

Warm weather is here! Make sure you stay hydrated in the heat!

l Not passing urine l Decreased ability to carry out physical tasks, loss of appetite, reduction in urinary output, sleepiness, headaches, impatience and lack of concentration as well as more serious symptoms in the case of severe dehydration

On average 20% of our water intake is from food. These foods all have a high water content so are food options for helping to increase hydration g g g

Hydrating Tips l Make it social! Take time out to have a cup of tea

l Make sure drinks are available at mealtimes

l Set reminders on your phone to drink every hour


1.5 litres a day is what we each should be drinking make a jug of water of that amount and keep in fridge - make sure it is gone by the end of the day! Add mint or cucumber in for added refreshment!

Watch Caroline Harding, our CCS Agent Manager explain how CCS are now providing a water bottle to help you stay hydrated. There is even a handy guide on the side to help remind you to drink throughout the day!

Call 01823 331 222 or contact your local Agent to get one!

Micro-Providers ... Micro-P What are Micro-providers?

Micro-providers are paid for providers of very small, community based care and support services. Examples of micro-services could include: • • • • •

Support to keep well, socialise and remain independent Support to people living in their own homes Short breaks and holidays Support to access employment, education and leisure Day support and help around the home.

The Somerset Micro-enterprise programme has lots of infomation being shared on Facebook They also manage a directory where you can find a local micro-provider here:

Your CCS Village, Community and Carers Agents work with micro-providers: Many of our Carers Agents work closely with micro-provider who support their clients - here’s a few things our Agents have said about them:

Lucy Tobias

South Somerset Village Agent

Personally, micro-providers are an invaluable part of my job as an Agent. There’s such a wide variety of micro-providers, & each offers such a great service. It’s really useful to match the needs of the client to the micro-providers skill set. Knowing that a vulnerable person has a trusted supporter, aide and confidante really does bring peace of mind. The network is set up in such a superb way, I truly value it as a way to get support for those in need.

Steve Ballinger Sedgemoor Village Agent

Tracey Bland West Somerset Village Agent

We’ve got some great microproviders in Somerset.

Micro-providers are a vital part of our service, enabling us to make sure the clients The ones I’ve worked with get the best care and support have really taken the time to for their individual needs. We get to know their clients and I also signpost family members know of cases where they have to the micro-providers so they dramatically improved their know what is offer. clients’ quality of life. It’s really useful to us as Agents to work alongside them, so that support can be sourced quickly.

You can also watch this really informative Talking Cafe with Rhys and Lucy, who talk in detail about how micro-providers can help you & also how YOU could become one!

Providers ... Micro-Providers Micro-Provider Network

The Micro-enterprise Programme actively supports the development of local provider associations an networks. The networks have been formed by local micro-providers to support other local micro-providers. Each network is characterised by a code of conduct, defined membership and quality feedback loop which aim to provide both peer support& a single point of access for people looking for help. The Community Micro-enterprise Programme endorses networks who share in the ‘Doing it Right’ quality standards and have providers who are part of the programme. If you have a enquiry and would like to contact your local network please follow the links below: Chard Micro-provider Network Ilminster Micro-provider Network

Taunton Trusted Provider Network Bridgwater Micro-provider Network

Wivey Cares

Yeovil Micro-provider Network

South Petherton Care Co-operative

Crewkerne Micro-provider Network

Stowey Care and Support Frome Micro-provider Network

Minehead and District Micro-providers

Want to become a Micro-provider? The Somerset Micro-enterprise programme is a partnership between Somerset County Council and Community Catalysts CIC in association with the Community Council for Somerset. The programme offers help, advice and specialist signposting to people with good ideas to set up local helping services. The programme can support with: • • • • •

Accessing training and DBS Checks Developing Policies and Procedures Understanding Regulation and Legislation Links to peer support and business advice. Through start up surgeries, networking events and 1:1 support the programme supports all micro-providers to meet the ‘Doing it right’ Quality Standard.

Since 2015 the programme has: • • •

Jill Beck models her new ‘Approved Community Micro-provider’ Lanyard awarded for completing the programme.

Directly supported the development of 440 new community enterprises and 85 existing enterprises. Supported the formation and development of 16 peer-support ‘Trusted Trader Networks’ Collectively the 525 enterprises are supporting over 4,000 people in Somerset and are providing over 19,000 hours care and support a week.

To access this support and to share your ideas, contact Enterprise Development team at or 07788350806 or complete this short form here: & more info can be found here:

Creative Respite in Lockdown Joining online forums or groups around subjects that interest you such as gardening, art and music can provide welcome relief for carers and a chance to connect to others with shared interests and shared experience. Most of these online sanctuaries have the benefit of never closing - you can join in at a time to suit you, and it reduces the complications of finding someone to provide cover. It is not a complete replacement for the need to get time away, but it could be a life raft for many. We want to celebrate the untraditional mechanisms for respite, consciously taking time out for yourself as a Carer is so important for your health and mental well being. If you can, explain to the person you care for that this allocated time is just for your rest and recouporation, set them up with anything they would need for 30 minutes to an hour, and allow yourself time to rest and pamper yourself, or nurture your hobbies.

Facebook groups for specific support and fr National Carers Facebook Group Learning Disability Carers Community Support Group Somerset Walk Group Somerset Levels Friends Support for Family, Carers and People Living with Mental Health Issues Children’s Disability Living Allowance days out Discounts tips and advice

Bitesize Respite Ideas SEED – Creative Lives under Lockdown creative-lives-under-lockdown/

Home Pamper Session Pamper-Yourselfat-Home

Online Yoga Classes www.blissedout

Reading or Listening

Set yourself up in a comfortable space, with nourishing snacks, a cuppa, plenty of water & a good book or Audible book

Take a mindful moment in nature

Simply sit and enjoy being outdoors, use it as mindful relaxation time, listening to the birds & being in nature. has tips here: y2k26uq3

Online Book Clubs Good Housekeeping recommends: https://tinyurl. com/y5288tn5

riendship - take a break to chat with friends Carers of Spouses with Depression/Anxiety ADHD And Asd support group for parents And Carers uk Brain Injury Carers Support Support for Vascular, Alzheimer’s & Mixed Dementia Dementia Family Support Carers Accommodation Long & Short Term

Somerset Carers Conn

As part of the Somerset Community Connect initiative we have been refreshing and further developing our website and FACEBOOK page. Much work has been undertaken to ensure that we have informative, useful and easy to access information and advice about the Corona-virus. Of equal importance, we have been keen to explore new and improved ways to enhance the lives of unpaid carers. One such initiative is the development of two Somerset Community Connect Facebook groups: Somerset Creative Carers Connect and Somerset Musical Carers Connect. Somerset Creative Carers Connect: Somerset Musical Carers Connect: And other useful groups include: “Time Out Up the Garden Path” SEED – Creative Lives under Lockdown: under-lockdown/ We believe that art and music are wonderful ways to communicate what is important to us in our lives, our thoughts and feelings. Creative activities like these can help us connect with others, relax, take time out and have some fun. To be a member of these groups you should have an interest in creativity, music, art etc. and live in Somerset. You should also be an unpaid carer, former unpaid carer or someone who genuinely cares about the lives of unpaid carers. Our group provides an opportunity for people to connect with like-minded folk, share information, creative insights, updates and showcase their creativity.

For more information please contact Debbie: 07866 785 438

nect through Creativity Somerset Community Connect Connecting you with independence... Somerset Community Connect is about positive and supportive ways of living involving the whole of Somerset. Somerset Community Connect is about individuals, groups and organisations all working together to create a safe, healthy, supportive, kind compassionate and vibrant Somerset.

Keep up to date with us on social media! Somerset-CommunityConnect-118359599602774/ SomersetCommun1

“By Your Side” a beautiful song by Cindy Stratton dedicated to carers during Carers Week. Help us shine a light on all the different ways kindness is shining through here in Somerset and post your comments and photos’ on social media using hashtag #stayhealthyinsomerset

Sedgemoor Carers Group Carers Agent Lucy Parkinson has set up a private facebook group at the start of lockdown, where she has connected with Carers in the area throughout lockdown. With her usual ray of sunshine persona, she injects positivity into the group as well as useful support, advice and current info for carers such as: carers week, staying hydrated, taking breaks (lots of carers groups and day care settings being closed during lockdown), information about what meals, books etc that are being donated each week, which she distributes to her Carers and always asking how everyone is to encourage conversations

Join here: or call 0800 31 68 600 to speak to your local Agent to set one up in your area!

Staying Safe on Social Media During lockdown, many people have turned to social media to stay connected to the outside world, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that scams are around on social media platforms. Get Safe Online safety experts have put together some simple tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of social media scams. Read there advice in full here: l Don’t click on links in posts, tweets or direct messages unless you’re 100% certain that they’re genuine and well-intentioned. l Don’t respond to posts offering free app downloads, as these may be fraudulent. Download apps only from the authorised app store for your device. l Don’t respond to online quizzes or questionnaires, however engaging they seem. The data you provide may be sold to third parties, or used to guess online passwords. l Fraudsters advertise fake or non-existent goods. Do all you can to check the authenticity of the seller, and never pay by bank transfer in case it’s a fraud. l Think twice before responding to approaches such as friend/contact requests or approaches to take some unusual or irregular action. l Get into good basic habits like using strong, unique passwords for all online accounts, not sharing personal info, making your accounts private, having up-to-date information security software/app & not using public Wi-Fi when what you’re doing is confidential. If you become a victim of a social media scam report it to the social media network via the reporting mechanism on the site or app. If you have lost money as a result of social media scams or via any other fraudulent activity, report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting #socialscams

Support for Carers in Somerset Somerset Carers This service provides Carers Agents who are Somerset based individuals with a wide knowledge base of local services and information that are invaluable to carers. They are on hand to offer personal guidance and support.

Phone: 0800 3168600

Text “Carer� to 78070

Live chat also available

Somerset Community Connect This service offers a website that has lots of information and advice and a directory of providers, local groups and activities and information drop-ins for adult residents in Somerset to find information, advice and services to manage their own care and well-being.

Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Carers Service

This service offers support to unpaid carers and family members who look after people with mental health problems. Phone regarding - Adults:

Phone regarding - Children and Adolescents

Mendip: 01749 836597 Taunton: 01823 368396 South Somerset: 01935 428420 South Coast: 01278 720238

CAMHS East (Mendip and South Somerset) 01749 836561

Phone regarding - Older People

CAMHS West (Taunton and Somerset Coast) 01823 368368

Mendip & South Somerset: 01749 836736 Somerset Coast: 01278 720220 Taunton & Chard: 01823 368460 Email:

Somerset County Council Somerset County Council supports carers through their Adult Social Care Team who carry out Carers Assessments and offer support, advice and information. A carers assessment will look at how caring for another person affects you both mentally and physically and how it impacts on your wellbeing. Finding out how caring affects these things can help the council determine what support you could receive. Please use the Somerset Direct number below.

Somerset Direct

Somerset Direct is a contact centre managed by Somerset County Council. Somerset Direct operators will sign post you to departments relating to your enquiry. 0300 123 2224


Useful Contacts Age UK

0800 88 22 00

British Red Cross

01823 273 746

Carers UK

020 7378 4999

Citizens Advice

03444 111 444


0800 055 6688

Somerset Carers 0800 31 68 600 Somerset Village Agents 01823 331 222 Somerset Partnership Mental Health Team 01278 432 000 Spark Somerset

Somerset Direct

01460 202 970

0300 123 2224

Contact Somerset Direct for: l Adult Social Care l Blue Badge Scheme

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