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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

They have asked carers to be mentors for other carers??

(30 Posts)
lisad123 Sun 14-Oct-12 00:35:11

Had an email asking if I would be willing to mentor another carer!! Seriously, I can't get the help I need for the three people in already care for, am entitled to no respite from this LA but they want me to help them do a job they wouldn't certainly do for free!!

coff33pot Sun 14-Oct-12 00:38:02

Bloody cheek is what comes to mind....

coff33pot Sun 14-Oct-12 00:39:28

Ask if you could then have respite to take this on board too and just see what response you get for curiosity sake.

achillea Sun 14-Oct-12 00:41:31

What exactly do they want you to do and will you get payment / respite / both for it?

lisad123 Sun 14-Oct-12 00:43:31

Dear Lisa

Your experience and expertise is needed!
Why not volunteer to become a Mentor for family and friend carers?

· you have at least two years’ previous or current experience of caring

· Could you spare some time each week for up to six months to talk with another carer on the telephone or over a coffee to offer emotional support and practical information?

· As a carer you will know how exhausting and difficult it can be sometimes - could you be a listening ear and offer support and advice to other carers without judging them?

Mentors who are working with carers now have described this role as “enjoyable and rewarding” and “it gives me a challenge and boosts both my knowledge/understanding and self-esteem”.

lisad123 Sun 14-Oct-12 00:43:52

Training and expensives

coff33pot Sun 14-Oct-12 00:53:18

They know how exhausting it can be sometimes?

Yet they won't recognise it for you and your 3? well I guess they did say somtimes ... hmm

bochead Sun 14-Oct-12 01:04:17

Caring carrots having a laugh methinks.

Write back and ask for respite from your own caring duties to cover your "prep time and post mentoring outcome review".

Triggles Sun 14-Oct-12 08:23:30

Unbelievable. Yes, I would demand respite in order to prepare and carry out this..I'm just appalled that they had the cheek to ask you this!!

Iceflower Sun 14-Oct-12 08:36:59

shock. Note to MNHQ, we need a Caring Carrot smiley just for MNSN!

achillea Sun 14-Oct-12 10:07:04

Before we knock it, I think that it is a good idea. I got far more support from other people who were carers than from the services in the past when I needed help.

It is also good that there is no money earned because it means that you are only doing it because you want to, because you want to share. This is how Home-Start functions, and it works very well.

But it needs to be very very carefully and thoroughly supervised.

TheLightPassenger Sun 14-Oct-12 10:18:21

As I see it, the problem isn't that it's a bad idea, more that I wouldn't want to be doing it in association with the LA. You can just see the "mentoring" being included as part of a supposed support package rather than actual therapy or respite...

cornsconkers Sun 14-Oct-12 10:20:13

each week for six months! shock

achillea Sun 14-Oct-12 10:22:38

It's the Home-Start model cornsconkers one afternoon a week for six months (gives continuity and security otherwise it's not worth doing). it could be very helpful for parents whose children have been recently diagnosed.

Triggles Sun 14-Oct-12 10:40:09

In theory it's a good idea, but let's be realistic. She's already been trying to get respite, so she obviously is in need of it. The last thing someone pleading for respite needs is more responsibility and commitments added to their plate. Especially with the emotional appeal that is basically saying "don't you want to help others as they go through what you're going through???"

I don't know about others on here, but if someone suggested at this point that I could take on additional responsibilities and commitment of meeting someone regularly once a week for six months, I would be boggled. Meeting a friend or acquaintance to support them when possible is one thing, and I'm happy to do that. But this requires a specific commitment that I think is asking a lot of someone who is already juggling so much, especially someone who has already been asking for respite for herself.

Then there's the added problem of training - I can't imagine they would just turn people loose in this way without some type of training, which requires more time commitment.

It just doesn't seem that they're taking the needs of those they are asking to mentor into account. IMO it needs a rethink.

I think it's a brilliant idea in theory, but yes, they need to provide you respite to do this!
(Oh and a bit more respite to allow for the fact that if you got respite, this presumably wouldn't be top of your list of priorities)

TheLightPassenger Sun 14-Oct-12 10:44:51

I think the potential for conflict of interest could be awkward as well, if the scheme is associated with the LA, what happens if/when the mentor gives advice about statementing/tribunals etc?

achillea Sun 14-Oct-12 10:55:57

I've done similar stuff in the past but found that it was just too emotionally draining to deal with other peoples problems, however I think that some people would be very good at this and it would enhance their lives. It did enhance my life and gave me a way forward but there was a time when I really shouldn't have been doing it but was committed to I continued.

It would help people that are isolated and don't know others.

I just hope to God they don't think that they can substitute proper social support with this kind of thing though. As an enhancement, great but please don't pull away other childrens services.

bochead Sun 14-Oct-12 11:49:55

This kind of things needs to be 100% voluntary + independent and totally unconnected to any form of officialdom. To be effective it needs to be organised by almost any other organisation than the council, or conflict of interest WILL be an issue at some point for the mentor.

I've personally recieved some wonderful support off other MNetters - totally unprompted and the sheer warmth that comes to you when that happens is unmatchable by any "official" scheme. I'll be forever grateful for the odd pm string or coffee iyswim.

Even for the mentee - the nature of caring means that sometimes being scheduled for a set weekly session could just end up feeling like another darn caring carrot appt or course to jump through. I'm also concerned it'll be used to cost cut and replace genuine professional councilling and family support services.

In theory it COULD be a fantastic idea - my sibling went and mentored several teens with the same disorder she has. Seeing an adult who'd been through it, yet had come out the other side and onto Uni, employment etc was incredibly empowering for some of the youngsters she dealt with. However she was asked at a point when she had the TIME to do a good job, and was promised the independence to express an opinion without reprisals when schools/NHS were letting the youngster in question down iykwim.

Asking someone who is begging for respite from their own caring duties just implies a complete lack of understanding of that carers circumstances and is insensitive to the greatest degree. Given how desperate you have to be to ASK for respite, this letter is really offensive I think. I'd tell em to go get some professional help for their lack of empathy. Also is it mentoring people have needed most or actual practical help?

achillea Sun 14-Oct-12 12:04:08

I agree with all your points bochead except the last - respite is something that you have to be desperate for before you ask, agree there, and those in receipt of it are bound to be in a very difficult situation, but getting the opportunity to do something other than care for your own children could be a good thing for some carers to do, it certainly opened a lot of doors to me because I had become enclosed in my family hub for so many years and my role in it was cast, without my consent, to be a carer and nothing else. But they need to offer a lot more than respite, they need to offer training and additional respite to ensure that carers aren't put under too much pressure.

It may work for a tiny minority but I agree that to 'blind copy' all carers is a little insensitive.

The carers services are already under LA control and tbh I don't think they would be capable of benefiting from a conflict of interest, the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing at the best of times. Their main conflict of interest would be money, and seeing as there would be no money involved (other than investment in training) it could work.

I must say I had a good person from SS help out initially, but the disabled childrens team are beyond a joke where I am.

TheLightPassenger Sun 14-Oct-12 12:09:10

Yes, agree completely Boc. I am massively in favour of SN parents helping other SN parents in an informal capacity, like many of us have spent many years posting and responding on here.

Out of interest Achillea, did you find the doors that opened were in terms of finding that your involvement in the mentoring scheme made it a bit easier to get paid work, or in terms of more general fulfilment socially etc?

achillea Sun 14-Oct-12 12:26:37

No, not socially but it made me see outside my own life and look back in a little. It also made me see that I was of value outside the home as well as in it. Paid work on those lines has not been what I've wanted because it's too close to home. I can't work for a system that I'm inside of. But it gave me some kind of perspective I guess.

TheLightPassenger Sun 14-Oct-12 12:29:48

thanks for answering my nosy q achillea smile

AgnesDiPesto Sun 14-Oct-12 12:40:32

There is a similar scheme near me and I thought about it but then realised I couldn't make that sort of commitment, I am already exhausted and if i am going to do more i want to be paid. There is a need for it but it would be very easy to fund voluntary sector organisations to train, supervise and pay 'expert' parents to support others.
I think key workers should in fact be 'expert' parent carers who are paid and have no conflict with LA / NHS etc but genuinely independent. If they offering paid positions it would be win win -parents who can't work would be able to get paid to do something which could fit round their own caring responsibilities and new parents would get independent advice and support and someone prepared to help them challenge the services
I can bet anything if i signed up I would not be allowed to give the sort of advice I would want to give, bet anything my hands would be tied

achillea Sun 14-Oct-12 12:51:15

I think you're right Agnes, the LAs have to be outside of this and it would be possible for the voluntary sector to run it, but LAs need to be there to supervise in the background.

It would work best if they used older parent carers who have been through their toughest times. In my experience it worked very well to reduce isolation but also helped parents to see that their child had a future as well as a disability. It was also very difficult when the family wasn't co-operating or doing something that you find objectionable on a personal level. Boundaries have to be very very clear.

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