A north-east social care charity is continuing to support people across the region who are caring for friends and relatives during lockdown.
VSA is offering a number of services to unpaid carers to help them deal with their role.
VSA’s Carers team is working with the Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership and has supported carers across the city with supplies of protective equipment.
The charity plans to launch further facilities for carers in the coming weeks, including mental wellbeing support and self-care training sessions.
The charity has been awarded funding from the Scottish Government to expand its services in order to reach more people.
Chief executive Dr Kenneth Simpson said: “Unpaid carers like George do a fantastic job of providing continued care behind closed doors often without the same recognition as frontline workers.
“At this time, many carers across Aberdeen are feeling anxious at how they can continue to cope and care for their loved ones without them becoming exhausted and burnt out from the additional pressures the coronavirus pandemic is placing on them.
“At VSA, we have been providing support for vulnerable people and carers for 150 years.
“We recently secured funding from the Scottish Government Wellbeing Fund to help us reach and support more hidden carers across the city.
“Our Carers service is one of forty different services VSA operates and if you are struggling or need help please get in touch as we want to help support as many people as we can.”
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One man, aged 86, paid tribute to VSA, which has helped him care for his wife after she was diagnosed with Alzheimers.
He intially struggled on his own following the diagnosis six years ago, but for the last three years he has been supported by VSA.
Since then, the couple have been regularly visited by carers from the charity, which has also helped them move into sheltered housing.
Because of lockdown, he asked VSA’s carers to stop attending in order to keep him and his wife safe from coronavirus.
However, he has still been able to access support through the charity’s phone service – and paid tribute to the staff and volunteers who have helped him.
He said: “Since the pandemic started, the support we have had from VSA has been remarkable. I have had to stop the carers coming in, which has made things quite difficult for myself, but they have been really supportive in other ways.
“We have also got a good network of family who have been great.
“Having that support on the end of the phone, which I can access any time I need it, is really important. They have really been looking after us despite not being able to physically come round.”
He added: “My wife was diagnosed with Alzheimers about six years ago but before that I had been looking after her without even realising she was ill.
“I was so focused on making sure she was okay that I didn’t realise I was becoming unwell too and ended up with pneumonia.
“From that point, my family asked for help from the city council and they sent round VSA, who have been amazing.
“The support we have had since I had my little bout of pneumonia, which was around three years ago, has been incredible. We are so thankful for VSA.”
VSA has launched an appeal for funding to help it continue to deliver its services throughout the lockdown period.
And the man urged anyone who can to dig deep and help the charity.
He said: “VSA needs as much financial support as it can get because they are doing all these things and helping so many people like me and my wife.
“At the moment there is no money coming in for them so it’s really important people support the charity if they can.”
To support VSA, visit vsa.org.uk