Carers Week is an important time to recognise the valuable role played by more than 7.85million people in the UK who give free on-going assistance to a loved one.

Whilst looking after a loved one can be a truly gratifying experience, the emotional, physical and financial stress that comes with such intense responsibilities can often have an impact on health and welfare. This is particularly true for those who care for a relative or close friend who is suffering from dementia.

Dementia in the family
Looking after an elderly parent with dementia can be emotionally exhausting; not only does it result in a change in the nature of the relationship between the carer and the loved one, it can also, unfortunately, lead to arguments between family members.

Take, for example, a scenario where three siblings in full-time employment are caring for an ageing parent with dementia. As the illness progresses, it might become necessary for one of the siblings to undertake part-time work or become a full-time family carer. This can, understandably, cause feelings of resentment between siblings and lead to significant fallouts in the long-term.

 

Did you know?

* Recent research reveals that almost 30 per cent of the UK’s informal carers have fallen out with a family member or friend due to stresses involved with their caring duties.

* 53 per cent of informal carers feel their role has a significant impact on their emotional state. As a consequence, they can experience isolation and loneliness and feel as though the sacrifices they have made to fulfil their caring duties carers will never be recognised.

* 46 per cent of informal carers find it difficult to source, book and manage the services they need when looking after a loved one.

Source: WeMa Life

So there is clearly a real need to ensure that those providing care free of charge are adequately supported. In light of this, 2018 Carers Week is an ideal time to discuss creative new measures to alleviate some of the stress placed on them.

 

Alleviating the burden
Fortunately, the health and care industry is now witnessing the rise of innovative digital platforms which make it far more efficient to find, compare, access and pay for care services all in one place. Importantly, integrated platforms improve the ease and speed with which a person caring for a close family member or friend can access the required services from a third party. They also pave the way for agencies, small companies, freelancers and sole traders in the health, care and wellbeing space to list their services and connect with potential patients or their carers’.

So how can online platforms, which provide a managed booking service, reduce the stress faced by informal carers looking after someone with dementia?

If you’re looking after an elderly relative with dementia, digital platforms offering an online booking function will enable you to order, monitor and manage their care services. The person you’re caring for and others close to them can also view your online record of bookings, so they can see when different services are being delivered as well as the associated costs. This may seem like a small development, but by enhancing transparency and improving efficiency, online platforms can help families and friends to work collaboratively together, avoiding miscommunications and reducing the burden placed on individuals.

In my opinion, the rise of innovative digital platforms such as WeMa Life are transforming the health and care industry. They have a fundamental role to play in supporting the needs of family carers, reducing the unnecessary stress placed on them when they are looking after a loved one, and serving as a tool of empowerment.

Rohit Patni, is the CEO and co-founder of WeMa Life.