Time For You: A Practical Guide For Carers

Star rating: 4/5.

BBC, for availability see below.

This excellent introductory booklet employs a lifestyle magazine approach (glossy production values, human interest stories, celebrities and health tips) aimed at new carers or those who perhaps aren’t even aware that they are carers, writes Graham Hopkins.

It is a legacy – although not a lasting one as the print-run is diminishing fast – of the BBC’s important carers campaign (see Project Report, 5-11 August).

Its life-saving messages are simple and direct: as a carer you are not alone; there is support; and, go on, think about yourself as well.

With six million carers providing £57bn worth of care each year it’s perhaps surprising that people can feel alone and unsupported, which in turn can generate anger and frustration, but they do. As actress Pam Ferris says in the foreword (or “forward”), caring is “horribly isolating”. So booklets such as this and the influential reach of the BBC are welcome.

Celebrity is an ingrained part of our culture. Presumably, hearing from celebrity carers helps mere mortals realise that the pressures can affect anyone. And celebrities are humbled into realising that they are, after all, mere mortals too.

The actor and writer Tony Robinson, who will probably be forever known as Baldrick from TV’s Blackadder series, is featured honestly appraising his time caring with his mother for his father, who had Alzheimer’s. No cunning plan here – just anger and resentment. And yet, like so many others, all he wanted to hear was he was doing OK. This booklet does OKby the bucket-load.

We have 200 copies of Time For You to give away: send an A4 addressed envelope (and a first-class stamp for each copy) to Time For You, Community Care, 6th floor, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey, SM2 5AS. First come, first served.

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