Sunderland Carers Centre: committed to helping carers
A Sunderland carer who has dedicated the last 11 years to caring for his wife, would be lost without the support of Sunderland’s fourth emergency service.
Keith Riddell, 63, is one of the many carers benefiting from the help, support and guidance offered by the Sunderland Carers Centre.
Keith said: “For the last 11 years I have cared for my wife, Ann, who has Multiple Sclerosis and needs care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Until recently, I have never asked for any help with caring for my wife – I was too stubborn.
“Lately, for the last few months, my own health hasn’t been great and I knew I had to see what services were on offer in the city to help carers like me.”
There are estimated to be over 30,000 carers in Sunderland, and Sunderland Carers Centre works tirelessly to provide the necessary support required by each individual carer.
Helen McAdam, carer locality lead for Washington at Sunderland Carers Centre, said: “Ann is totally reliant on Keith for her care. It is incredibility important for us to offer Keith as much support as we can to make the process of caring more manageable.”
Keith and Ann have been supported by the Carers Centre, Social Care and the Community Matron, who together have taken Keith to local hospices and visited his home to provide support and advice.
Helen said: “Working as a team and building strong relationships with the carers is crucial to the success of what we do – we ensure carers like Keith and the people they care for feel supported by the work that we do, and positive about the outcomes.”
“It’s really great to be able to work with the same people throughout this process,” said Keith. “Being able to build relationships shows me that they genuinely care about both me and Ann – it makes asking for help that bit easier.”
Often there is immense pressure that comes with looking after a loved one; the Carers Centre seeks to alleviate this by providing help and support to young and adult carers throughout the city.
Keith said: “It’s important to raise awareness for people who are caring for a loved one, and highlight the challenges we face. But it’s also necessary to recognise the support that is out there to help us – we don’t have to do it alone.
“Without the help of the Carers Centre, I would be lost,” added Keith.
Graham Burt, chief executive of Sunderland Carers Centre, said: “Everybody needs support, and carers are a group of people who, more than most, make huge sacrifices every day, and put the needs of those they look after above their own.”
Sunderland Carers Centre provides a listening ear and a range of advice and support to carers from across the city.