According to the European Association Eurocarers, 80% of all European chronically ill people are taken care of by informal carers, i.e. someone who provide unpaid care outside of a professional or formal framework. While caring for a loved one can be a source of great personal satisfaction, it also creates challenges, like physical and mental health problems, a feeling of social exclusion, difficulty in balancing paid work with care responsibilities and other possible financial worries. The European project SINCALA has developed free resources to help informal carers and professionals working with them.
Millions of European citizens are providing care for a family member or a friend in need of support often without any previous training and without the support of specialised services. However, this situation is potentially dangerous: indeed, research has demonstrated that the caregiver stress that often arises in informal caregiving situations can lead to situations of abuse and that almost 10% of older people who are cared for by family caregivers are at risk of mistreatment.
Information, education and adequate psycho-social support can play a very important role to help informal carers to reduce their burden and to prevent stress to become not manageable and it is with this in mind that the consortium of the SINCALA project has developed a set of free pedagogical resources targeting professionals as well as carers themselves.
The educational tools developed include:
(1) a guide for professionals willing to implement narrative-based workshop for informal caregivers
(2) a guide for professionals to identify and address issues that emerge from workshops
(3) an e-learning course for professionals to learn more about informal carers, the challenges they usually face and how to support them
(4) an online educational platform for carers, where they can find basic information about how to deal with their caring role, the importance of self-care and to seek help, together with contact details of organizations and services they can turn to at local level.
All resources are freely available on: www.sincala.eu
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