Carers living in Birmingham who have experienced a bereavement of the person they have been caring for continue to receive much needed bereavement support during the Covid-19 pandemic thanks to the Caring for Carers Bereavement and Wellbeing project.
Ran by a consortium of third sector West Midlands based organisations including Crossroads, Communities in Sync, Ideal for All, Afro Caribbean Centre, KUUMBA Centre and Sandwell Advocacy, they work together on the project to support carers to cope with the loss of their loved one by offering practical support and a range of bespoke services.
Specialist officers from the Bereavement and Wellbeing project work with bereaved carers to identify their requirements before working with them to help them deal emotionally with bereavement, whilst tackling the practical issues that arise when a loved one passes.
Silva, 43, from Rubery was referred to the service last year to help her cope with the loss of her husband Nathaniel, who passed away in May.
Silva, who has a young family with four children aged 8, 6, 4 and 2, said “When I first accessed the service I was very down, crying a lot. I spent time talking to Catherine, my Wellbeing Officer, on the phone and on Zoom. She was very understanding and supportive. She gave me encouragement and advice and helped me to find my way through the paperwork and benefit options. During the lockdown periods, when I also have to homeschool my older children, Catherine is someone to talk to and reassure me. I really benefit from the ongoing support.”
Silva remains positive and thankful. However, many carers who access the service face other challenges alongside their bereavement, such as mental ill health, and the pandemic only serves to magnify this.
The Bereavement and Wellbeing project team have continued to provide support to carers across Birmingham throughout the pandemic, working creatively to ensure that they can continue to do so safely. Support is offered via telephone or online, this includes support groups which have now moved from face-to-face meetings to Zoom. Those who use the service also have the opportunity to take part in the Healing Garden and Living Memory projects – special alternative therapy projects to re-build self-esteem and daily routine, things which are often lost when the cared-for person dies. Full details of the projects, as well as the full list of support services available can be found on our website.
Although the project aims to support carers who have recently been bereaved, carers can also start to access support before their loved one (who may be receiving palliative and end-of-life care) passes away. Carers can engage with the project at any stage in their grieving process following their loved ones death. The grieving process is complex and no set time frame can predict how long a someone will need support.
To find out more about the service or to make a referral visit www.crossroads-caringforcarers.org/bereavement-and-wellbeing-service/ or call 0121 809 5902.