Living well as a carer

This section covers information about healthy living, NHS health checks and flu jabs for carers.

Healthy living

Caring for someone can be a rewarding role, but many carers report feeling stressed, reduce the amount of physical activity they participate in, alter their eating habits or suffer from a poor night's sleep. Whilst providing support for someone is an important role, it is also important to look after your own health, such as eating well, exercising, stopping smoking (if you smoke) and reducing your alcohol consumption (if you drink).

Live Well Greenwich is a great resource for those who feel ready to make some healthy changes to their lifestyle. Alternatively, NHS Choices also has some useful information to help you live more healthily.

NHS Health Checks

The NHS Health Check programme is a public health programme in England for people aged 40-74 which aims to keep people well for longer.

The aim of the programme is to help prevent conditions such as: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and certain types of dementia. These conditions can often be prevented even if you have a history of them in your family.

In Royal Greenwich we want to go further and help you prevent other disorders and conditions that are common, which means that we will ask a few extra questions and then be able to support you in other areas too.

More about NHS Health Check including eligibility criteria (NHS Health Check website)

Flu jabs for carers

Royal Borough of Greenwich is supporting the NHS Flu campaign. Flu is a highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very suddenly. Healthy individuals usually recover in two to seven days but for some, the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death.

Many patients who rely on unpaid carers would be unable to cope alone if their carer caught the flu. Carers who are not vaccinated risk passing the virus on to the people they care for, which could make them seriously ill.

Although carers are entitled to a free seasonal flu vaccination from their local GP surgery (and may have already had one due to being in an 'at risk' group), many carers are not aware of this or even realise that they are a carer. The annual flu vaccine is available from September onwards, so make sure you seize the opportunity.

Government policy is that the flu vaccine should be offered to the following groups:

  • everyone aged 65 years and over.
  • everyone aged six months or over who is in a clinical risk group.
  • people living in long-stay residential care homes or other long-stay care facilities where the infection could spread easily and put lives at risk (this doesn't include prisons, young offender institutions or university halls of residence)
  • people who are receiving a Carer's Allowance, or who are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill; this will be given on an individual basis at the GP's discretion depending on your need.

If you have health problems of your own, your GP should also check to see if you fall into one of the clinical risk groups. Your GP will decide whether you need a flu jab based on this information.

More information about flu jabs for carers.