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Being a carer for somebody can bring with it many
challenges as well as rewards and a carer’s quality of sleep can suffer.
Factors such as stress, interrupted nights, or money worries can all have a
negative effect on sleep patterns and make life more challenging.
Getting a good night’s sleep is important for us all and
it may be useful to understand why.
While we sleep our bodies carry out many important
functions that are needed for optimal health and wellbeing. These functions
include the processing of information and memories that we have acquired
throughout the day and when we sleep our brains re-organise this information
and transfer it to different parts of the brain for future use. Our bodies also
use sleep to restore, repair and grow.
Poor sleep on a regular basis can put you at risk of more
serious medical conditions and can affect your concentration and
decision-making, making your role as carer harder. Lack of sleep can also make
you feel low in mood and increases the risk of having accidents in the home, at
work or on the road.
The following websites have further information and tips
on achieving a good night’s sleep
There will be times when things get too much.
Saying “no” to someone we care for is one of the most difficult situations
anyone can face, and for Carers it can be even more difficult, but it may be
At times it
may be best to avoid confrontation, even when you know you are in the right.
help, if possible go out of the room or into the garden for a few minutes,
giving you and the person you care for space to calm down and think things
conditions, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, the person you
care for may, become agitated and argumentative. When you know what could be
best for them but you are being accused of being difficult yourself you may
start to question your own sanity. Don’t be afraid to ask for
professional advice. It often helps to have someone reassure you that it is not
you but the condition which is the problem. We all know that conflict can arise
particularly between those under a number of stresses.
are disagreements about how things should be done, or divided loyalties.
Painful situations are sometimes allowed to go on for far too long. It can take
a lot of courage to face one another and get things out into the open.
The surest route to an
Emergency Situation is through not looking after your own needs. You must be
honest about the limits of your own ability to care.
Recognise your strengths, but also be
aware of areas in which you need support or advice. This is not a sign of
weakness or failure, but is a necessary part of caring as well. It is all too
easy to put someone else’s needs so far in advance of your own that you will
forget the simple basics such as eating well. A Carer who is tired,
undernourished, bored, frustrated, or even ill and not paying attention to this
may one day wake up and find that they can no longer cope. It is very
difficult, and can be almost impossible, if the person you are looking after
demands only your care and attention but you have to try to be strong enough to
exercise is called “five senses”, and provides guidelines on practicing
mindfulness quickly in nearly any situation. All that is needed is to
notice something you are experiencing with each of the five senses.
this order to practice the
five senses exercise:
around you and bring your attention to five things that you can see. Pick
something that you don’t normally notice, like a shadow or a small crack in the
awareness to four things that you are currently feeling, like the texture of
your pants, the feeling of the breeze on your skin, or the smooth surface of a
table you are resting your hands on.
moment to listen, and note three things that you hear in the background. This
can be the chirp of a bird, the hum of the refrigerator, or the faint sounds of
traffic from a nearby road.
your awareness to smells that you usually filter out, whether they’re pleasant
or unpleasant. Perhaps the breeze is carrying a whiff of pine trees if you’re
outside, or the smell of a fast food restaurant across the street.
Focus on one thing that you can taste right now, in
this moment. You can take a sip of a drink, chew a piece of gum, eat something,
or just notice the current taste in your mouth or open your mouth to search the
air for a taste.
has difficulties that mean they cannot make decisions anymore, they will need
help managing their finances. Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal
document where someone (while they still have mental capacity) nominates a
trusted friend or relative to look after their affairs if they lost capacity.
representative should only ever make a choice for you if you’re unable to make
that specific decision at the time it needs to be made. For example, if you
fall into a coma, your representative would start looking after your affairs.
Yet if you wake from the coma, you should be able make to your own decisions
Power of Attorney is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint
people (known as ‘attorneys’) to make decisions on your behalf.
There are 2
types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
• health and
• property and financial affairs
choose to make one type or both. You must be 18 or over and have mental
capacity (the ability to make your own decisions) when you make your lasting
power of attorney.
Every day we make decisions about our lives. The ability to make these
decisions is called mental capacity. People may not be able to make decisions
some or all of the time, perhaps because they have a learning disability,
dementia, mental health problem, brain injury or have had a stroke.
decides if someone has capacity?
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 says a person is unable to make a decision if they
can’t do one of the following: understand information relevant to a decision;
retain that information long enough to make the decision; use or weigh that
information; or communicate the decision.
If you do not
have mental capacity you may need a court-appointed deputy instead – A deputy
is someone appointed by the Court of Protection to make decisions for someone
who is unable to do so on their own.
Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
you to choose one person or more to make decisions about things like:
• your daily
routine (eg eating and what to wear)
• medical care
• moving into a care home
• life-sustaining treatment
This type of
Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used when you’re unable to make your own
and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney
This lets you
choose one person or more to make decisions about money and property for you
• collecting your benefits
• selling your home
This type of
Lasting Power of Attorney can be used as soon as it’s registered, with your
make a Lasting Power of Attorney
• Choose your
• Complete the forms to appoint them as your attorney.
• Register your Lasting Power of
Attorney with the
Office of the Public Guardian (this can take up to 10 weeks).
What to do
The action to
take depends on the situation. (We use the word ‘they’ below for simplicity,
but, of course, you can set up a Power of Attorney for yourself as well.)
still have capacity
This is the best time to act. If the person still has capacity and would like
to make arrangements in case they lose mental capacity, they can set up a
Lasting Power of Attorney.
It takes up
to 10 weeks to register and will only be used if and when they lose capacity,
unless they specify otherwise on the application.
If a spouse, relative or friend already has limited mental capacity, but didn’t
set up Power of Attorney in advance, it gets more difficult. You need to become
a deputy of the Court of Protection to make decisions on their behalf.
Do I Need A Will?
Whatever your age, if you’ve assets such as a home, savings,
or a business, and people or others you’d like to look after, then consider
making a will.
All sorts of problems can arise if someone dies without one.
Having a will is an effective way of making sure your assets are handled and
distributed in the way you want.
Why it’s Important to make a Will
A will sets out who is to benefit from your property and
possessions (your estate) after your death. There are many good reasons to make
• You can decide how your assets are shared – if you don’t
have a will the law says who gets what
• If you are an unmarried couple you can make sure your partner is provided for
• If you are divorced, you can decide whether to leave anything to your former
• You can make sure you don’t pay more Inheritance Tax than necessary
If you die without a will (called dying intestate), the
intestacy rules determine who inherits what want when you die.
Requirements for a valid Will
In order for a will to be valid, it must be:-
• Made by a person who is 18 years old or over and made
voluntarily and without pressure from any other person; and
• Made by a person who is of sound mind. This means the person must be fully
aware of the nature of the document being written or signed and aware of the
property and the identity of the people who may inherit; and made in writing;
• Signed by the person making the will in the presence of two witnesses; and
• Signed by the two witnesses, in the presence of the person making the will,
after it has been signed. A witness or the married partner of a witness cannot
benefit from a will. If a witness is a beneficiary (or the married partner or
civil partner of a beneficiary), the will is still valid but the beneficiary
will not be able to inherit under the will.
Although it will be legally valid even if it is not dated,
it is advisable to ensure that the will also includes the date on which it is
As soon as the will is signed and witnessed, it is complete.
If someone makes a will but it is not legally valid, on
their death their estate will be shared out under certain rules, not according
to the wishes expressed in the will.
What Should be Included in a Will?
To save time and reduce costs when going to a solicitor, you
should give some thought to the major points which you want included in your
will. You should consider such things as:-
• How much money and what property and possessions you have,
for example, property, savings, occupational and personal pensions, insurance
policies, bank and building society accounts, shares
• Who you want to benefit from your will. You should make a list of all the
people to whom you wish to leave money or possessions. These people are known
as beneficiaries. You also need to consider whether you wish to leave any money
• Who should look after any children under 18
• Who is going to sort out the estate and carry out your wishes as set out in
the will. These people are known as the executors
There are a number of different ways to make a will.
Making a will with a solicitor
Most people use a solicitor. Ask about their experience and whether they belong
to the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). If you need advice on
inheritance tax, for instance, check that the person who is writing up your
will has additional tax qualifications and knows what they’re doing.
Making a will with a will writer
If you use a will writer, rather than a solicitor, check whether they belong to
the Institute of Professional Will Writers or the Society of Will Writers. Ask
for evidence of indemnity insurance and for details about procedures should you
or your beneficiaries have a problem with the will.
Making a will with a bank
If you use your bank to make your will, check how its will-writing service is
regulated and who actually provides the service.
How to change your will after you’ve written it
It’s sensible to review your will every few years and consider amending it or
even writing a new one if there is a change in circumstances, such as if you
get married, have children or get divorced.
Changes to a will can be made by codicil – an addendum to
the original will – or by revoking the old will and drawing up a new one. You
can revoke a will by physically destroying it. If the change is relatively
simple, you can write a codicil and get it witnessed, and keep it with your
existing will. But you should not alter the original will.
If you wish to make a new will, it should begin with a
clause stating that it revokes all previous wills and codicils. If the changes
are complicated, such as you remarry, it is worth getting legal advice on
drawing up the new will