Pendleside Hospice Celebrates Carer’s Week

Billie and Barbara Blezard, Lisa Thompson, and Paul and Shirley Banks

In celebration of Carer's Week 2024, Pendleside Hospice is shining a spotlight on the tireless and compassionate efforts of unpaid carers in Burnley and Pendle.

Carer's Week, taking place from the 10-16th June, is a time to recognise the significant contribution that these dedicated individuals make to the community. The theme for this year’s campaign is "Putting Carers on the Map," which seeks to increase visibility for carers with services, employers, and communities.

In Burnley and Pendle, nearly 10% of the population provides some form of unpaid care, including that of young carers. According to the latest census statistics from 2021, this includes individuals who look after or support family members, friends, neighbours, or others with long-term, physical or mental health issues, disabilities, or age-related problems. The efforts of these carers can often go unrecognised, despite the profound impact they have on the lives of those they care for and the community at large.

The Hospice plays a significant role in supporting these unsung heroes within our area. Through various support groups and services, we offer a sanctuary where carers and their loved ones, who are living with advanced, life-limiting illnesses, can find solace, companionship, and professional support. All services at Pendleside Hospice are free of charge, and referrals can be made by carers themselves or by someone on their behalf, with consent.

Barbara Blezard, from Brierfield, and Shirley Banks, from Barrowford, are two such carers who have found a lifeline in Pendleside's support groups. Both attend the Hospice with their husbands, Billie and Paul, who are living with Alzheimer's disease. Barbara shared, "I really look forward to coming to Pendleside Hospice each week with Billie. I was a little apprehensive at first, as I never expected a hospice to be a place of warmth and laughter, but it's amazing, and I've made some wonderful friends along the way. It gets us both up and about each week and Billie benefits greatly from being around other people."

Billie was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2021, while Paul received his diagnosis in 2018. In addition to the Dementia Peer Support Group, both families participate in the Carer's Group on the third Thursday of every month. Shirley expressed her appreciation, saying, "The Thursday sessions are a great chance to make new friends and spend a couple of hours with people in a similar situation. The evenings are always really informative and we're so well looked after by Pendleside. We take part in lots of different activities including meditation, crafts, yoga and other gentle exercises. The carers get together in one room, and those we care for are looked after in another. It's a good chance to relax and enjoy a little respite."

Diane Herbert, Pendleside's Assistant Practitioner on the Health Wellbeing & Rehabilitation department, emphasised the importance of these gatherings. "What we find is that a lot of those attending our support groups simply enjoy being in the company of others who are in a similar position. They are a community within themselves, and we are there to facilitate it. Sometimes, those who attend may wish to just sit and have a chat with a brew, while others partake in games and activities. Others will utilise additional services such as psychological support and complementary therapy."

Complementary Therapist, Rose Grundy, highlighted the diverse range of support available. "Referrals can be made for the carer, as well as those they care for, living with an advanced, life-limiting illness. If we, or other health professionals in the area, see a carer in need of support, we are there as a charity to provide them with just that. As a therapist at the Hospice, I offer relaxation techniques in the form of reflexology, massage, and aromatherapy, with sessions usually lasting between 30-40 minutes. Our carers find it to be very beneficial to their emotional and mental wellbeing."

Our commitment to supporting carers aligns perfectly with the objectives of Carer's Week 2024. By providing a nurturing environment and a range of therapeutic and social activities, our aim is to ensure that carers receive the recognition and support they deserve.

We invite all carers and those interested in learning more about our services to call 01282 440 100.