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We are a self-help group of carers who find support through supporting each other. We support carers living in Kineton and the surrounding South Warwickshire and North Oxfordshire villages and rural area.
We meet at Kineton Village Hall which is shown on the map as "Kineton Community Library" as this is part of the same building.
We hope you will find the information on this site useful and look forward to welcoming you.
Please explore further.
Carers 4 Carers is a self-help group, run by carers for carers.
It was started specifically to support carers who live in a rural area. Living in a rural area can present a different set of difficulties compared with those living in a more urban environment.
We welcome those who look after a loved one, friend or neighbour, whether living with them or not. We also offer support to those whose cared-for person lives in residential care and former carers.
Carers are ordinary people of any age and from any social or cultural background, who provide unpaid help - in many cases, substantial help - to a relative, partner or friend who is ill, elderly, frail or disabled or who has mental health problems.
The label ‘carer’ or 'care giver' should not be confused with those who receive payment for looking after someone. These people are sometimes called care-workers or care assistants. They may work in a residential home or they may visit their clients in their home on a regular basis, helping them to maintain some independence.
Carers4Carers meets once a month on the fourth Friday, (which isn't necessarily the last Friday) between 10.30 a.m. and 12 noon. Come when you can and stay as long as you are able.
We meet at the Village Hall, Mill Street, Kineton, CV35 0LB where there is full disabled access. There is no charge although donations towards running costs are welcome.
We have a speaker at some of our meetings to inform on a range of topics or develop skills to help with our caring roles.
During the summer of 2014 we opened our Companionship Group. Carers who are able to bring their loved ones to the hall can bring them to the Companionship Group for the duration of the meeting. Here they will be looked after by qualified and experienced care assistants from Home Instead. They enjoy the companionship of others, refreshments and a range of activities appropriate to their abilities. These include art activities, games such as carpet bowls, dominoes and word searches, newspapers and a library of interesting books. A place for this group must be booked in advance and the carer must remain on the premises.
In future months we are planning to have some sessions of harp therapy for both carers and members of the Companionship Group.
We have an extensive library of information leaflets and brochures.
1 in 8 people in the UK are unpaid carers - that’s 6.5 million.
Carers save the country £119 bn per year, more than it costs to run the NHS.
Three in five people will become carers at some point in their lives
Every day 6000 people take on a caring role.
On average, it takes two to three years for a person to realise they are a carer. In many cases, there is a gradual increase in the amount of caring that a person does and it is considered to be a part of life, what one does - it’s natural to want to look after and care for the other person. It may be only when the amount of care becomes more substantial that that person realises they are a carer. In the meantime, they may have missed out on benefits and other forms of assistance that are available.
For others, such as in the case of someone looking after a stroke victim or someone who has had an accident, the change might be quite sudden and life is suddenly turned upside down.
Providing care and support to a loved one can be immensely rewarding but it can also take it’s toll on the carer. If you are a carer, it’s likely you may experience or feel:
In September 2013, Carers4Carers joined forces with the charity Omega Care for Life and became one of their network of Meeting Point Support Group.
Omega’s “raison d’être” is to ‘tackle the wider determinants of health, including social and economic issues.’ They work with family care-givers (or carers), particularly those looking after people with life-limiting or long-term health conditions, people nearing the end of life, the bereaved, socially isolated individuals, the frail and elderly.
The charity encourages:
Carers4Carers sympathises in every way with the ethos of Omega and joining them has strengthened the group by providing services such as training, guidance and administration plus access to a telephone support line for family carers called Chatterbox.
This year we are again working with a team of youngsters from the National Citizens' Service who will be helping us with our annual fund and awareness-raising event. This year we're having a change from an afternoon tea and will instead be serving up a ploughman's lunch.
Tickets are now available and we look forward to welcoming you to the Kineton Village Hall on 9th August.
On June 1st 2017 the new Carer Wellbeing Service was launched by Warwickshire County Council. This is being provided by Carers Trust Heart of England and replaces the previous Carer Support Service offered by Guideposts Trust. Click here for contact details.
There is to be another accountability meeting for service users and carers of mental health services, this time for the south of the county.
You may be interested in reading the minutes and notes made of the last meeting in November, held in Coventry. This will give you an idea of the issues raised.
Before our Afternoon, our NCS team held a Campaign Day in Stratford-upon-Avon, meeting members of the public and telling them about us and what it's like to be a carer. They asked those they met to write a positive message supporting carers and then they stuck them all on to a large heart.
We are going to spend some time at our meeting in October looking more closely at the messages and then we'll stick them all into a book so that we can look at them in the future when we need perking up.
It was a beautiful, warm and sunny afternoon; what a day to come and enjoy a traditional afternoon tea.
In the morning a team of youngsters from the National Citizen Service arrived with the shopping, having raised money earlier in the week to pay for all that was needed. They organised themselves and set to making sandwiches, creating bunting to decorate the Village Hall, menus for the tables and putting a hamper together for the raffle. What a super team we had to help us, so willing to help. We had met them ten days earlier when they came to Kineton to learn all about our group, what we do and how we support carers at all stages of their caring journey. Most importantly, they met some of our members and talked to them to gain an insight into what it's like to be a carer.
Our tea was a great success. The team worked so hard, serving and mingling with our guests. Three of them took it in turns to play the piano to entertain with a little background music, which was greatly enjoyed and appreciated.
Everyone agreed that it was a great way to raise some funds to keep our important work going.
Our team of youngsters from The National Citizens Service
Come and join us on the afternoon of August 18th for a delightful full Afternoon Tea. Buy your tickets soon. Last year we sold out!
This year we are working in association with National Citizen Service. A team of 15 - 17 year olds will be helping us as part of a community project, through which they will develop skills for adult life. We are looking forward to working with them.
The contract for carer support for Warwickshire expires in February 2016.
Claire Hall, the Commissioner for Carer Support and Care at Home, is preparing a redesigned and refreshed Joint Strategy for Carer Support and is looking to engage with carers to discover what they are looking for from the service. She has asked to meet Carers4Carers' members for a short, 1 hour meeting to learn their views.
If you would like to participate in this golden opportunity to shape the future of Carer Support in the county, do please come to the meeting. If you want to know more, then phone 07947 893 504.
Approximately 45 people sat down for a proper afternoon tea at Kineton Village Hall. They enjoyed dainty sandwiches, scones with jam and cream and fancy cakes all served on pretty plates and cake stands. With our pianist setting the mood, craft stalls and a full raffle table, this really was a successful event. Just over £250 was raised.
Our thanks go to all those who worked so hard to make it possible and donated cakes and raffle prizes and of course also to our delightful clientele who clearly enjoyed themselves.
Rev Dawn surveys the sandwiches before we start. Have we made enough?
Our table in the entrance of Sainsburys
Carers4Carers was invited to have an information table in the entrance of the new Sainsbury's in Wellesbourne, for the whole of Carers' Week. Three volunteers took it in turns to be on hand during the week and met both carers and cared for. They were able to provide information about services that might be able to help them.
We publish a newsletter monthly, usually about a week before the monthly meeting.
The newsletter provides details of the monthly meeting and informative articles.
Below are links to our most recent newsletters.
From our 2017 archive
From our 2016 archive
From our 2015 archive:
Carers4Carers holds a meeting on the fourth Friday (which isn't always the last!) of the month between 10.30 and 12 noon.
We meet at Kineton Village Hall, Mill Street, Kineton, Warwickshire. CV35 0LB
We always start with coffee or tea and an opportunity to chat - a very important activity for those especially who experience isolation because of their caring role.
At some of our meetings we have a speaker. Speakers are invited based on requests or recommendations from members of the group. Some of the speakers and subjects we have had in the past include:
the Fire Brigade - home safety
Jeremy Wright MP
Warwickshire Reminscence Action Project
Last year the members decided that they would like the occasional meeting when they had more opportunity to talk themselves. Approximately one in three meetings are therefore without a speaker. We talk, we take part in some lighthearted activities and we enjoy some lovely therapeutic treatments offered by Anita from Tranquil Beauty in Wellesbourne.
One of the problems carers often face is that of support for the person they care for while they attend meetings. Some carers are unable to leave the person they care for at home on their own. That's why we started the Companionship Group.
The Group runs alongside the carers' meeting and enables the carer to bring their loved one with them to the Village Hall where they will be looked after in a safe and friendly environment. The group is run by a qualified and highly experienced care worker assisted by a retired volunteer nurse. The group provides much needed stimulation and an opportunity to socialise as well as participate in a variety of activities.
It is essential that we know in advance that you are bringing your loved one to the Companionship Group so that we can be sure that we are able to meet the their needs appropriately. Do get in touch, please see the details on the Contacts page.
All meetings take place at on the fourth Friday of the month, 10.30 - 12 noon at Kineton Village Hall, unless stated below.
January 27th - Sarah Coxall from Stratford Time Bank. Carers4Carers is an organisational member of the Time Bank. Sarah will explain how carers can benefit by becoming individual members.
February 23rd - Jas Kaur from the Warwickshire County Council team advising on Financial Assessment and Benefits will answer question carers have about finance and explain what to expect when booking respite and daycare breaks.
March 23rd - Paul Thompson will explain about the Five Ways to Wellbeing.
April 27th - Wellbeing Workshop with community artist, Penny Vigers
May 25th - Michael Howard, the service manager of the Warwickshire Carers' Wellbeing Service will describe what the service offers.
June 22nd - no speaker today. Come and relax over tea or coffee, have a chat and enjoy some TLC with our therapist.
July 27th - Colin Locke from R. Locke Funeral Directors
August 24th - we'll be going out for coffee. Details to follow.
September 28th - a visit from the Fire Brigade at the Gaydon Station
All meetings take place at on the fourth Friday of the month, 10.30 - 12 noon at Kineton Village Hall, unless stated below.*
December 8th (note change of date) - our seasonal meeting and our 5th birthday party!
November 24th - we will have a visit from a dietician
October 27th - details to be announced
September 22nd - no speaker this month but more time to support each other and for therapies
August 25th - we'll be going out to coffee. Details to follow
July 28th - a speaker from Act on Energy in Wellesbourne will give advice on home energy and also benefits and grants available.
June 23rd - Kate Allen is an occupational therapist and will introduce to various aids and adaptations available to promote independent living
May 27th - no speaker this month but more time to support each other and for therapies with Anita and Jasmin
April 28th - Debbie Anderson will be talking 'Legal Matters'
March 24th - looking at developments in the "Care Companion" research project
February 24th - Karen Swan, drama facilitator, will be encouraging us to 'Let off Steam"
January 27th - "Looking after yourself" talk with Harm Gordijn
Carers4Carers is a peer-led group. All those who lead the group are either still actively caring or former carers. Many carers find it helpful to share their experiences and others are encouraged when they learn they are not alone. The time for "coffee and chat" at our meetings is a great time to talk and many explain some of their coping strategies during discussion times.
On this page are links to some articles written by carers who hope that sharing their experiences and coping strategies will help others.
We can all get irritated in normal relationships – couples, teenagers, parents etc. But how much more distressing is it in a carer/cared-for relationship?
First, it is important not to overreact to difficult changes in mood– not easy, especially if we are tired. Mood swings – bad temper, rudeness and verbal aggression – may resolve themselves and relationships quickly becoming normalised – the cared-for may simply have forgotten all about it. Your best option is to carry on as if little had happened, but be vigilant for more episodes and to analyse the possible causes such as a health problem like tooth ache. Other causes may be the fear of getting old, loss of a loved husband, wife or partner, or reduced contact with long-term friends. Other triggers may be emotional baggage originating from past family upsets, for example a failure of children and grandchildren to visit or be supportive at times of need; dependence on others for their care and safety can be frustrating.
The carer needs to be aware of the effects of their own body language - if after listening for the umpteenth time to the same thing, it is hardly surprising that the carer’s facial expression is ‘Oh not that again’! Self-awareness and an ability to turn a deaf ear are key to pre-empting and coping with such situations.
My experiences suggest that the root cause of mood swings is frustration: on the part of the carer with a life slowed down by caring, difficulties of normal conversation when there is hearing loss or getting people to make important decisions. For the cared-for, the frustrations of forgetfulness - not finding wallets, keys etc., the effects of hearing loss on normal two-way conversation and the resultant misunderstandings, a dependence on others, may all give rise to frustration.
So, what to do about mood swings? Understanding that frustration might be a factor, rather than any long-lasting deterioration in relationships is, I think, the key factor to managing mood situations. Knowing this, then cultivate ultra-patience and tolerance, allowing episodes of bad moods to resolve themselves without the carer reacting and just carrying on in the expectation that mood swings will be transient. Try to avoid predictable triggers such as situations where public are intolerant and minimise unexpected changes to routine.
Above all, do not forget the privilege of caring for someone special.
People can pick up on our moods or how we are feeling, by the way we act, stand, or our facial expressions. We do it all the time without really thinking about it.
It was something I had to learn to be careful about when my husband was diagnosed with dementia. He had very poor communication skills and talked very little – BUT he was very aware of the tone of my voice and how I acted. Most of the time it was ok, but if I was feeling tired and irritable it was hard not to shout or snap at him. I would instantly feel sorry, but sometimes I couldn’t help it. Whilst Tom would not have remembered what I said 20 minutes after I said it, he would remember that I was not pleased with him and this would affect his mood. He would look at me in a way that told me he was confused or anxious. Sometimes he would say sorry, although he didn’t know what he was sorry for. I had to learn to try and keep my voice calm and remember to smile when I was talking to him.
I had to learn not to fold my arms or put my hands on my hips, as both of these give very negative messages in relation to my feelings. It was hard when I was tired or busy, and Tom would be standing looking at me because he didn’t understand what I was saying or was unsure of what he needed to do. I would try to remember to smile and speak slowly. I learnt that Tom was reassured if I took his hand, or gave him a hug. If he was sitting down I would sit down too, rather than lean over him as this also was reassuring. I had to remember never to appear to be in a rush or give Tom the impression that he was being a nuisance, not only because he would pick up on my irritation but because all it ever did was make him more unsure of what he was doing, more stressed, and take him even longer to put his coat on or whatever he needed to do. My daughter also told me that she noticed I would sigh if I was impatient with Tom - I hadn’t noticed it, but of course Tom did - so that was one more thing to remember not to do!
I found that it helped if I said to myself ‘remember no matter how tough this is for you it is far worse for Tom’. Sometimes just stepping out of the room and taking a few deep breaths with my eyes closed was enough to help. Or if I needed a few minutes, I would go and walk round the garden or just sit in a different room. I learnt that the best way of dealing with things was to give myself some time out.
What I also learnt to do was be kind to myself, caring for Tom was 24 hours 7 days a week. I couldn’t be Mrs Perfect all the time- no one can, even with the best intentions. We all have to learn that all we can do is the best that we can, and accept that some days we don’t manage as well as others.
I found dealing with my husband’s hallucinations was the most difficult part of caring for him. Despite my frequent questions and calls for help to professionals, I never received satisfactory help or advice. ‘Oh, just go along with it’ was what I was told. You try doing that, I thought, when you come back from shopping and find 6 cups of coffee sitting by the kettle waiting for me to take to the ‘visitors’ sitting in the conservatory. If Harry had been able to carry them there, goodness knows where they would have ended up! I also felt aggrieved when accused on several occasions of not offering hospitality to his daughter who was sitting beside him. On one occasion, I actually rang her at home in Italy to prove a point that she wasn’t there, which, in retrospect, I think I probably shouldn’t have done.
Harry’s hallucinations were usually about members of the family, the presence of ‘yobos’ near somewhere that was important to him, such as in his study, so that he became frightened as to what they would do, or a dog begging for food at the table.
I did find some answers to visions he saw at night. Harry’s consultant explained that his brain was creating a much more vivid interpretation of some kind of stimulus. He would see a large, threatening image of an intruder at night, which frightened him. I eventually realised that, with the faint glow of the night-light, he was disturbed by the presence of dressing gowns hanging on the back of the bedroom door. The ants crawling up the bathroom door proved to be chips in the white gloss paint, revealing dark spots underneath. Once I realised this, the solution was easy – I simply removed the garments or arranged to have the door painted.
I always felt frustrated at my inability to deal with Harry’s hallucinations and felt I had failed totally in this area. Our relationship was built on total trust of each other and to ‘live the lie’ as it seemed to me, went against this; we both described what we saw and felt to be true and sadly they contradicted each other. I was feeling frustration and frequently exasperation but he was experiencing real fear. The best I could do was to provide comfort and reassurance.
There is an increasing array of equipment to support independence and safety in the home. They fall into two main categories, equipment operated by the occupant and remote monitoring by a third party.
Lifeline telephone is a common name given to many different products, all of which provide the same support, namely an easy way to summon help or reassurance through activating a device usually worn by the occupant, which is monitored 24 hours a day. The monitoring station will either contact a named person or summon the emergency services.
A Keysafe is fitted to an outer wall of the home, containing a key, which allows access by emergency services using the key code held by the monitoring station. There are different grades of Keysafes, some of which meet Police and insurance standards.
Smart Home Technology
There is a comprehensive range of equipment to monitor the activity of a person. This can include pressure mats to monitor getting out of bed or activity sensors on the fridge. These products can be monitored by a relative on an App or a remote monitoring station providing support and helping occupants to remain safe.
Going out can be stressful and time consuming depending on circumstances and the stage your loved one has reached.
Be willing to make comprises for non-important tasks such as shopping etc.; this can be speed things up and help release tension as well.
Keeping appointments and socialising with family, friends etc. together should be encouraged as this is a constructive way to stimulate conservation. The positive side is that it is lovely to do things together and enjoy whilst you are able. Just going out for a coffee can have an impact on the rest of the day.
For you, as carer, maintaining communication with family, friends and Carers’ Cafés while caring for your loved-one at home, further down the line when residential care might be required or the inevitable happens, is a practical way to keep connections alive and much needed support.
Never feel guilty for trying to keep a normal routine and independent existence however painful, tiring and difficult. Life is for living and important, with or without your loved one.
The 8 years I cared for my mother left me with many cherished memories. Mum had a small stroke 2 years after dad passed away. After discharge from hospital she came to stay with me ‘whilst we thought things over’ – and stayed with me for the rest of her life! Even now, nearly 10 years later, I think back over those happy times. Mum loved my house and garden; above all she felt safe, she trusted me. She had always been good fun to her young children, full of ideas and involved in many social activities. She never lost this ‘fun attitude’ to life.
What do I remember best? Mum looked forward to my brother coming to help care and her pleasure at
exchanging family gossip. Her involvement in my social life – including helping get ready for the village show - and chatting to visitors. I particularly remember mum’s cooking skills; She took lessons at Cordon Bleu standard and taught me the basics. I have photos of mum with her wonderful smile, helping in the kitchen to get ready for parties. More photos show her sitting in the garden whilst I mowed the lawns and looking after the flowers. On rare occasions, I would go camping and botanising in the French-Spanish Pyrenees. My brother took over the care responsibilities and kept mum up to date where I was and what I was doing. I kept an album of her 80th birthday which, together with other photos, is now a special treasure.
Of course, there were some difficult times, when mum was poorly, afraid for the future or if some unkind person was rude to her. But these times were vastly outweighed by the happy times. A doctor once commented ‘Your mother is happier than I have ever seen her’ - another of my cherished memories.
George’s dementia affected his eating habits in lots of ways. From what he ate to how and when he ate. At lunch-time I was used to putting a variety of things on the table, but this would confuse George so I started to keep food on the kitchen counter and only put our plates on the table and perhaps a dish of vegetables if it was a main meal.
I couldn’t ask George what he wanted to eat as giving him choices would confuse him. At lunch time I would hold up the cheese and perhaps a packet of ham or tin of tuna and ask him which he wanted so he could SEE what I was offering him and point to what he wanted. It was a limited choice but at least he had some choice – any more than 2 options and he couldn’t cope.
Having never had a sweet tooth, George’s dementia changed that. Initially he could remember where the biscuit tin was and would regularly disappear in the cupboard to help himself. I tried not to have any sweets or biscuits on show, but kept a fruit bowl to hand, so he was more likely to eat an apple or banana. But as his dementia got worse, so did his appetite and if he wasn’t prompted, he wouldn’t eat at all.
I had to give him small portions of food and offer him food more often. Everything had to be in separate piles on his plate. I also found cutting his food up so it was easy to eat helped. Drinking was a big concern. I couldn’t leave a drink in front of him and assume he would drink it. I had to regularly offer drinks and then make sure he would drink them. It helped if someone was sitting drinking with him. To get calories into him, I would make him milky coffee and found that he would have a mug of Horlicks at bed time - not something he would have chosen before
George used to enjoy a beer or a glass of wine, but he was not allowed alcohol because of his medication. I found some non-alcoholic lager that he liked and so he still felt included if I had a glass of wine.
George was in hospital for a time and hardly eating was a big concern. He was not keen on the hospital food, so when we visited in the afternoon we would take him along to the canteen and try to tempt him. He would sometimes eat a yoghurt, and would usually drink a latte. On one occasion we managed to get him to have a few chips, as we walked down the counter he looked at the puddings and said, ‘I can’t have custard on them can I’? Although we wanted him to eat, chips and custard wasn’t really an option!
It is not easy looking after a loved one with Alzheimer's but it can be rewarding and a sense of humour helps.
Talk to as many people as possible for ideas of how to cope, such as professionals, Carers’ Cafes, other carers, family and friends because the more information gained the better.
Apply for benefits that are available as they are not all means tested; the more physical and financial help received the better.
It is acceptable to say “no” at times. Find time to be selfish to do things that you enjoy doing to relieve the tension and also to recharge your own batteries. You are very important. Staying active is healthier in body and mind for everyone. It is also important to keep in touch with friends etc.
Find a way to have conversations with your loved one without asking a question and this will be much more productive.
My husband suffered from Parkinson’s Disease and as the disease progressed, I became aware that he was gradually feeling more and more disorientated. Even at home he was not always sure how to get from room to room, especially when he was tired. When he was still able to go upstairs and get ready for bed unaided, he would get up from his chair and walk in the opposite direction to the door or ask me how to find the bedroom. At first I put this down to the fact that, not having been married long, we had moved into a new house together and the layout of his old home was obviously more deeply imprinted on his mind.
Away from home or at night, this problem became more serious. Sometimes during the night I would be aware of him coming round to my side of the bed and trying to push the wall. He was looking for the bathroom and had already walked straight past the bedroom door. Plug lights seemed the obvious answer but we did not have a socket in an appropriate place. I solved this by buying a motion-sensitive light with a wide angle and a magnetic backing which I fixed to a metal wastepaper bin. As he didn’t shut the bathroom door at night, the wide angle of the light meant that it stayed on while he walked from the bedroom and continued into the bathroom, relighting on his way back.
When going on holiday I of course did not know what the situation would be. Staying in a self-catered cottage, he couldn’t find the bathroom in the night and, to his alarm, thought he had walked through into the next cottage. In one hotel, we had twin beds. Bill’s bed was about a foot away from the wet room so I left the shaver light on all night and set the door slightly ajar so that he could see it. Even that didn’t work and I woke up to find him sitting on my feet, desperate for the loo.
Eventually I went back to the idea of the motion-sensitive lights but this time I bought three flat-backed ones with a directional beam. Before going to bed, I set them out on the carpet, making a path to the bathroom. It didn’t work in all circumstances, but it certainly helped.
We are always on the look-out for people who would like to volunteer to help the group. There are several ways in which you can help. Some of the ways in which volunteers can help are with:
setting up the hall and clearing up
welcoming members - and especially new members - to the meeting
assisting with refreshments
If you would like to help in any of these ways or have a particular skill or talent that you think would be
useful, please complete the form below and we will be in touch.