Wow! What a great day we had at the PROPS office in North Tyneside on Thursday 8th June with our carers.
To recognise PROPS carers during National Carers Week, we invited our carers along for a consultation to explore their thoughts about the service and what they would like from the service this coming year, including respite activities.
We Asked PROPS Carers for their Thoughts
We used the iPads and laptops to get our carers views about the website. They provided us with food for thought and their ideas will be incorporated in our new look website (which is currently being updated).
We then looked at the respite that we had offered in North Tyneside over the past year and asked the carers if they had enjoyed the activities that participated in. There was an overwhelming thumbs up for theatre trips, Minsteracres, fish and chips, complementary therapies and cinema visits. Needless to say these will be offered again along with other opportunities.
A highlights of the day for me was to hear one of our amazing carers who, when he came into our service, was very anxious and barely said a word. It was great to see how much his confidence has grown and to hear him join in with conversations and share his thoughts about PROPS.
We Provided Mindfulness Sessions
We also offered carers a respite session; an introduction to and an exploration of the positive effects that mindfulness can have on our physical and emotional health. We looked at the ‘Wheel of Emotions’ to think about feelings and how carers can look after themselves by exploring their emotions more deeply.
The group discussed mindfulness strategies that may support them. One carer became emotional when we explored watching clouds and the different shapes they make as they drift by to relax and distract from any problems we face. This brought back happy memories of cloud watching with her son when he was younger.
Talking about the various strategies that they can use was a great segue to discuss different activities that the carers are already doing. These might be everyday things that they do but with a mindfulness twist. For example, watching the bubbles form and burst when running a bath or watching how the colour of the water changes when making a cup of tea. Taking short ‘time-outs’ allow us to focus on the present and provide valuable moments of relaxation.
We ended the session with a guided meditation session.
PROPS carers commented that the session had given them a chance to relax and consider their own mental health; the majority saying that the ‘Wheel of Emotions’ will help them.
PROPS would like to thank our carers who continue to show their resilience by giving us their valuable time when they have such busy, and at times challenging, lives.