Desperate appeal for more carers

A CLEVEDON care agency is appealing for anyone with a couple of hours of free time to help look after the elderly around them.

A CLEVEDON care agency is appealing for anyone with a couple of hours of free time to help look after the elderly around them.

As the Times reported earlier this month, there is a huge shortage of carers in North Somerset and many elderly people or patients discharged from hospital are being put into residential care because there is no one to support them in their own homes.

The crisis has sparked a massive campaign by care agencies in the district to recruit new staff and change people's views of the profession.

Careplus manager, Sharon Donkin, said: "The situation is absolutely dire.

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"People who just need tender love and care and being put in homes with people with dementia and Alzheimers and it can be depressing for them.

"There is a total misconception as to what a home care worker does and we need to change that.

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"It's not all about wiping bottoms. Home carers support people to live independently and could perform simple talks like helping someone to fasten their clothes, helping with the washing or at meal times or making sure they take medication.

"I am sure that within the area there are lots of caring people who are either retired or have school children who may have as little as an hour per week to be able to assist our elderly and keep them in their own homes."

Careplus has more than 300 patients from Weston to Pill but only 90 care workers.

Nailsea and Backwell have been hit hardest with scores of elderly people on the waiting list.

Sharon added: "Some of our elderly have no family members to support them or even pop in for a cup of tea, so home carers are vital.

"It's very rewarding helping someone to make lunch or making sure they live in clean conditions.

"If more people started helping the elderly it would benefit the whole of the community and we want to pay people to do it. It's not a charity."

Mary Rawlings, aged 78, of Westbourne Avenue in Clevedon, has a carer every morning to help her get washed and dressed and to take her into town once a week.

Mary, who has emphysema and arthritis, is looked after by her son Kevin full-time, but a carer gives them both a bit of a break.

She said: "The carers are wonderful. They always have a friendly smile and it's lovely meeting new people.

"I don't think I'd be able to manage without them and Kevin also needs a break sometimes."

Anyone interested in becoming a carer can call Careplus on 01275 872421.

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