Connecting Christian carers
There are likely to be informal carers in your church communities. Tina English of the charity Embracing Age highlights an initiative designed to support them
Caring for a loved one is a privilege, but it can also be isolating and exhausting. Christians are not immune to the role or challenges of caring for someone close to them. This week is Carers Week, an opportunity to highlight the faithful contribution of those in our churches and communities caring for family or friends.
One in eight adults in the UK has a caring role, and it’s estimated that during the course of our lives, one in three of us will have a caring role for a person living with dementia. It’s therefore very likely that there are informal carers within our church communities, and it’s easy for them to be out of sight and out of mind.
The pandemic has been particularly challenging for carers as many of their usual support activities has been cancelled, leaving them more isolated than ever. That’s why in January this year the Christian charity Embracing Age started a new initiative called Carers Connected.
Taking advantage of the widespread use of video calling that has emerged in the last year, they host a weekly zoom gathering of carers, giving them the opportunity to chat and pray together. It’s been described as a gently welcoming oasis and a lifesaver, with one carer commenting, 'It’s a unique forum to share vulnerably our feelings, stresses and to encourage and pray for each other in our caring roles. Great to chat, unwind and even laugh together.'
Those participating in the gatherings were asked how churches can best support carers, out of which the following themes emerged: seeing, listening, praying, enabling, including and offering practical help. The Carers Connected website expands on these themes, as well as signposting to other resources, and publishing reflections by carers.
Embracing Age is keen to be able to offer more Christian carers the peer support and encouragement afforded by Carers Connected, but they need volunteers who are able to help facilitate the zoom gatherings on a rota basis.
If you would like to know more about how you could be involved either as a volunteer making a difference in the lives of carers, or in joining the group as a carer, visit: www.carersconnected.uk.
Image | Nani Chavez | Unsplash