Liferaft Blog

Our Festive Christmas Offer!

Our Gift to You – A FREE Premium Account!

 

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As a parent carer, a professional carer or someone who lives with a long-term condition, Liferaft can help you. Our Premium Account allows you to:

  • Avoid having to repeat yourself
  • Keep vital information in one accessible place
  • Ensure continuity of information within a care circle
  • Have peace of mind

If you, or someone you know, would benefit from having a Liferaft Premium Account, then we have the perfect present! We are offering our Premium Account FREE for 6 months when you sign-up using the code SANTA17 before 28th February 2018.

 

If you are a parent that cares for a child with special needs, read more about how Liferaft can help you with our dedicated Parent Carer page.

Are you an individual with a long-term condition?  Liferaft can help you and those within your care circle.  Click here to read how.

 

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To sign up for a FREE Premium Account and start using Liferaft, click here and remember to use your SANTA17 promotional code!

Tips for Teachers

Tips for teachers when talking to parents of children with SEN

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As we approach Christmas time, many teachers, teaching assistants and parents will be talking to each other about 2018 – and the needs of the child concerned.

Talking to parents or carers is not always straightforward – and difficult conversations with parents of children with additional needs can sometimes become fraught for both sides. We have just launched our ‘parent carer’ page on our website – so we thought this ‘tip list’ fitted in nicely with that.

Gemma Corby is Sendco at Hobart High School, Norfolk and has written this tip list for anyone who is discussing SEN student’s needs – here’s how to make these conversations as successful as possible!

Know the needs

SEN teachers have regular conversations with parents and carers. Several say that they can find parents’ evening difficult, because some teachers do not seem to know or fully understand their child’s needs.

Understandably, it can get parents’ backs up when teachers say things like, “he needs to work on his spellings” when the child has a diagnosis or dyslexia. Equally, give, “she needs to learn to concentrate more”, a miss when speaking to the parent of a child with ADHD.

Parents are well aware of their child’s diagnoses, difficulties and differences. What they want to hear is what actual progress has been made and what strategies could help their child to progress further.

Watch your wording

Be mindful of your language. Avoid using words such as “slow” or “behind”, as these can have negative connotations. Replace them with “needs additional thinking time” or “is catching his peers up”.

Be positive

Parents of children with additional needs can, unfortunately, be used hearing a lot of negative feedback. So, always start with something positive – and be genuine as there is nothing worse than a disingenuous compliment. My good friend and former colleague’s mantra is “always start with what the child can do, not what they can’t”.

Keep the ‘teacher voice’ in check

As teachers, we are used to having to make quick judgements about situations and exerting our authority. This is mostly fine in the classroom. However, it helps to not apply the same bullish approach when talking to parents. Some parents may have had very bad experiences of school and could be apprehensive about meeting you. It is essential that you get these parents on side – and quickly.

Be sensitive

Remember that parents of children with SEND may be facing all kinds of challenges. Some will have had a battle in securing provision for their child and therefore may be more sensitive to any changes in that provision. A few may have taken time to accept the fact that their child has additional needs or even still be grieving for the child they thought they were going to have. The bottom line is that you do not know what it is like to be in their shoes, so the best thing you can do is be prepared to listen and to offer supportive ways of working together.

If you are a parent who is looking for something to keep all the information about your child in one place – then why not trial our amazing Liferaft application today? It can help save you time and allows you to send any teacher your child’s list of needs all at once.

Go to our sign up page to get a free trial of Liferaft today!

 

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UN International Day for Persons with Disabilities

UN International Day for Persons with Disabilities

Every year since 1992, the UN has observed the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3rd December. The aim of the Day is to: “promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.”

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This year’s theme

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Day, with the theme for 2017 being: “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all”.

As the United Nations Association – UK state, “Disability equals diversity, not disadvantage.” The concept of inclusivity works in multiple ways too; helping those with disabilities feel part of society and raise awareness to the benefits to that society for including people with disabilities.

The UK government also champions sustainable development in the “Leave No One Behind” promise. As part of this, they have committed to: “challenging the social barriers that deny people opportunity and limit their potential, including changing discrimination and exclusion based on gender, age, location, caste, religion, disability or sexual identity”.

One global company that’s keen to support this development is AccorHotels. To coincide with this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, they have added accessibility maps of their hotels and local businesses on the Jaccede app, which is a platform where people can review the accessibility of the places they visit.

We’re also extremely supportive of this year’s theme, as it promotes inclusivity and sustainable development of resources available to help those with disabilities – key ideals that we hold at the core of the work on our own Liferaft application.

How can Liferaft help?

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As we previously discussed in our #InvisiblyDisabledLooksLike blog, there’s no way to “tell” that someone has a disability in all cases.

With Liferaft, you can tailor your application to suit your individual needs, or the needs of the person you care for, no matter what level of care is required.

You can share information between all members of your care circle easily – no more repeating information to different professionals – helping communicate your needs more efficiently and reduce repetition.

Our application was also featured in the latest edition of the Disability Review Magazine, showcasing how Liferaft is an effective online toolkit to support caring for children and those with long-term conditions. You can read the article here.

To further support those in need, we have built up an invaluable directory of resources, so you can find out more about your rights, support groups and advice.

We recommend you keeping a look out on our events page, as we frequently update it with the latest events that have been setup to support those with disabilities and their carers.

Try Liferaft for FREE

If you’re looking for a way to better track and manage your information, try Liferaft FREE today. Join Liferaft here. 

Parent Carer Week

Parent Carer Week

 

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As the end of the year quickly approaches, we thought it would be an ideal time reflect on the progress we’ve made this year with Liferaft and the help we’re providing to our users. This year, we’ve really focused on supporting parent carers, so we’re dedicating this week to the invaluable support they provide to their families.

In fact, it was this parent carer role that Nicola found herself in that inspired her to start Liferaft. Being a parent carer to her daughter Faith meant that Nicola really understood what was required in creating a tool to support fellow parent carers and their children.

We know first-hand that it’s tiring work looking after a child with a disability; it’s a role that doesn’t stop. Aside from the on-hand support, the role requires communication skills, effective management of medical appointments, school meetings, physiotherapist sessions and much more. This results in endless repetition; sharing the same information time and again to different people – other parents, family members and a large range of professionals.

As Nicola experienced: “I realised that gaps in knowledge between parents, carers, education and medical professionals became huge issues, and wished there was something I could use to hold everything we as a family knew in one place.”

This wish resulted in the Liferaft application – a secure, online place to record health and medical data, as well as social, emotional and support care information. All your children’s vital information is in one easily accessible place, so, no matter where you child is, you can maintain continuity of information. Take a look at our dedicated parent carer page to read more about how Liferaft can support you and your family. We’ve also compiled a list of great parent carer resources here.

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The feedback we’ve received about Liferaft just goes to show how effective it is for parent carers.

Life coach and SEN advocate Debs Apsland uses Liferaft to better manage her time: “The time it will free up for you and the stress it will remove from having to find that piece of paper or appointment letter is really helpful and, as a parent, it will give you some me time!”

Anna Hinton-Lowe, Parent Advisor at the OWL Centre loves how Liferaft keeps all information in one place for her daughter Scarlett: “Using the About Me pages, the journal and the calendar functions, I really appreciate being able to keep everything in one place and to be able to check everything is on track – and all from my phone.”

You can read more from parent carers and other care sector professionals on our testimonials page.

If you’re a parent carer looking for a way to better track and manage your information, try Liferaft free now. Join Liferaft here.

 

Carers Right Day 2017

Friday 24th November 2017 is Carers Rights Day. It’s a day organised by Carers UK to bring organisations throughout the UK together, to help carers in their local community know their rights. It’s also to bring awareness to the help and support they are entitled to.

 

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As part of their Carers Rights Day campaign, Carers UK have put together a list of resources that provide financial and practical information to support carers.

As our founder has been a parent carer, carers rights is a matter very close to our hearts here at Liferaft and we know we’re not alone. According to Carers UK, 6,000 people become carers every day. While it’s rewarding to look after the ones you love, the challenges faced by carers cannot be overlooked. Becoming a carer can also be extremely daunting; there’s the new information to take in, medical professionals to communicate with regularly, and sometimes difficult decisions to be made. It’s no surprise that carers neglect their own needs.

We previously shared tips on our blog on caring for yourself as part of World Mental Health Day. Many of these tips are valid for carers, too.

Like Carers UK, we know getting the right information at the right time can be difficult, especially when your full-time job is caring for others. However, as well as caring for others, it’s essential that carers make time for their own wellbeing, which includes knowing their rights and entitlements.

Carers Rights Day is designed to empower carers to know their rights and the support that is available to them. Did you know, for example, about The Care Act 2014?

As the NHS explains, this act “gives local authorities a responsibility to assess a carer’s need for support, where the carer appears to have such needs”.

The carer’s assessment gives carers the opportunity to discuss the support and services they need with their local council, taking into account how caring affects their life on a physical, mental and emotional level.

It’s also worth finding out if, as a carer, you are able to receive Carer’s Allowance. If you look after someone for more than 35 hours a week, you could be eligible to receive this benefit.

Alternatively, you may decide to return to work while still caring for a loved one. For some, this may provide a balance that helps the carers’ wellbeing. The NHS website lists your employment rights as a carer returning to work, including the possibility for flexible working and how unpaid leave works.

For more information on how to look after someone, the Carers UK guide, updated for 2018, is an invaluable resource. We also have a great list of parent carer resources on our website.

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When our founder, Nicola, set up Liferaft, not only was she a parent carer for her daughter Faith, but a wife and a working mother to two additional children. Drawing from own situation, Nicola created the Liferaft application to make carers’ lives easier. It’s a tool which helps to manage all aspects of modern day living, allowing you to keep vital information in one place and maintain continuity of information 24/7, wherever your loved one is. You find out more about how Liferaft can help carers here.

Try Liferaft for FREE

If you think that Liferaft could support you in your role as a carer, then sign up for a FREE account today.

Children In Need 2017

 

Children In Need 2017

Children In Need’s annual show is back on Friday 17th November, and we are doing our bit to promote the event and raise awareness about the fantastic causes it helps support.

Liferaft are giving away 1000 lifetime Premium Account licenses! All you need to do is go to the Contacts page on our website, fill in your details and in the message box type ‘PUDSEY17 OFFER’. We will then contact you with your free lifetime voucher code if you are one of the first 1000 people to contact us. This offer is open until 31st December 2017.

 

Pudsey, Children In Need and Liferaft Offer

 

This amazing event raises much-needed funds for disadvantaged children and young people across the UK to ensure support is there when it is needed. There are lots of ways to donate money today to support this fantastic charity:

  • Lots of children will be having mufti days at school
  • Bake sales around the country are giving everyone a sugar rush!
  • Log on to the Children in Need website to donate
  • Pudsey ears and deeley boppers can be seen up and down the country!

To find out more about Liferaft and how it can help you, click here to visit our Parent Carers page and our dedicated Parent Carers resource page giving you access to information and helpful websites .

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Self Care Week

Embracing Self Care for Life

Did you know that this week (13th – 19th November) is Self Care Week? It’s a national week that takes place every November to raise awareness for self care, ensuring that we are looking after our own health as best as we can.

The theme for this year’s Self Care Week is “Embracing Self Care for Life” – reinforcing the importance of maintaining your health and wellbeing now and as you get older.

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Working within the healthcare sector, this positive message is something the Liferaft team strongly supports.

Taking care of your own health and wellbeing – physical and mental – is so crucial, yet the pace of modern life means that we often overlook how we really feel. Understanding how to better take care of ourselves also helps us take better care of the people around us. This awareness also helps manage demand on health services.

There are many events taking place across England this week. You can find out more details on your local clinical commissioning group or local authority’s website.

As this week has been designed to raise awareness of self care, we thought it would be timely to share some empowering tips to consider for maintaining your health, and the health of family and friends:

Embrace healthy eating

A positive attitude to self care begins with a good, balanced diet. From cutting down on sugar, introducing more fibre into your diet, and getting the vitamins and minerals you need, the NHS Choices website has lots of invaluable advice. The Eatwell guide, also produced by the NHS, is a simple way of determining how much of what we eat overall should come from different food groups. Healthy eating is an essential self care practice, with benefits including: improved energy levels, tougher immune system, and it can even help reduce the chances of developing a range of health problems, such as diabetes.

The pharmacist can help

Many of us forget that we have the option to visit a pharmacist for medical advice rather than booking an appointment to see our GP, which can help you get better faster, with less strain on health services.

As NHS Choices states: “Lots of pharmacies are open until late and at weekends. You don’t need an appointment – you can just walk in. Your pharmacist can also talk to you confidentially without anything being noted in your medical records, which some people may prefer.”

Tracking your health effectively

The main aim of Self Care Week is to support the idea of keeping on top of your self care routine. When we designed the Liferaft application, we knew it was key for both carers and individuals themselves to have the ability to track their health in a safe, secure manner.

With Liferaft, you can capture important information such as medical appointments, dietary requirements, mental health and lifestyle updates. It’s also a great motivational tool, as you can add your goals and track your progress against them. Feel empowered by incorporating Liferaft into your own care plan, or within the support system for the person you care for.

If you think that Liferaft could support you and your family then sign up for a FREE account today.

Self Care Week is a great initiative to draw attention to looking after yourself, but remember that embracing self care is something that should be taking seriously every day of the year.

You can get involved in Self Care Week by tweeting to @SelfCareForum, using the hashtags #selfcareweek and #selfcareforlife.

You can find out more about the benefits of Liferaft at our website, www.myliferaft.com

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It’s Movember!

# Grow with gratitude

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It’s Movember! That means as well as seeing lots of extra facial hair on the front covers of celebrity magazines, website photo galleries and Instagram feeds we are bracing ourselves for lots of cringing as TV presenters preen over their newly found beards and celebs sport ‘interesting’ Movember attempts like these.

Here at Liferaft, we know that it can be tough during low periods to think about what you are thankful for, studies show there are physical and mental health benefits that come with practising gratitude. Some of these include decreased anxietyimproved sleep, reduced depression and stress relief.

The good news is, practising gratitude is simple and doesn’t require too much time. According to the NHS, positive benefits can be found just from writing. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology asked people to keep a weekly gratitude journal for nine weeks. Those who kept the journal reported an increased sense well-being, better health, increased exercise, a better outlook on life as well as feeling more optimistic.

Our Movember Challenge!

Seeing as showing gratitude does us so much good – our ‘Movember’ challenge is this:

Write down at least one thing each week that you are grateful for, and why. You can dedicate a notebook to your thoughts or simply jot down your answers in your phone’s note-taking app, or why not try our very own Liferaft platform?

If you are having a hard time coming up with ideas, we’ll be sending out a weekly guided prompt on social media every week to help you along, all using the tag #growwithgratitude

Here are this month’s prompts:

  • Week 1: Select three things that happened in October that you are grateful for.
  • Week 2: Name three people who have improved your life in a meaningful way.
  • Week 3: Pick three experiences you’ve had over the past year that you are grateful for.
  • Week 4: What are some ways you’ve grown from this time last year?

Will you be getting involved with #growwithgratitude this month?

Liferaft is a powerful online resource that assists and addresses a wide range of health and social care demands. You know how much you wished everything that was important to your diary life were in one place? Well now it is! To find out how Liferaft can help you and your loved ones, visit www.myliferaft.com or see us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Stress Awareness Day

Finding the balance after Fresher’s Week

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It is sometimes difficult to keep the balance right in terms of work, play and lifestyle. One area where that is particularly true is for those of you who are transitioning or returning to study after Fresher’s Week. It might even be that it’s the first time away from home, and reality has just set in.

With National Stress Awareness day just having arrived, we thought it made sense to give readers out there a few pointers in how to cope, especially coming on the end of our recent ‘back to school’ campaign.

Once the novelty of the first few days of University has worn off, you’re flying. Life is good. You’re free. But then you realise that this is your life for the next three years. Your mental health wavers.

Something requires your focus, you realise you’re meant to be juggling all this new stuff while also writing essays. This is when the trouble starts. For something that’s sold as a non-stop party fun-zone, university can be a huge bag of balls, and having a mental illness while you try to successfully complete your higher education and also make friends and also find yourself on a spiritual level and also have good sexual experiences?

So here are 4 ways to take care of your brain health when the buzz of Fresher’s week eventually wears off.

  • Look into your university’s wellbeing or mental health services

Most universities will have special services and resources for students suffering from mental illness. Whether you have an established diagnosis and a history seeking help, or if you’re brand new to the whole Feeling Like Everything is Endless Darkness thing – these resources are meant for you. Do your research and see what your University offers in terms of mental health resources. They might be able to set you up with a counselor, or put you in touch with other groups on campus that might be able to help.

  • Reconnect with old friends

It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of meeting new people. But this has its limits, and sometimes you need to remember to reach out to the people that have had your back through the tough times. Remind yourself that your support system goes beyond this new city and these new people.

  • Plan a trip home

Going home for the first time after starting university is bizarre. Everything’s so clean. There are no sticky playing cards on the table, no three-day-old kebab by the sink. It is nice to go home to a place where actual adults live, and where ironing happens, and spaghetti bolognese isn’t eaten out of a pan. If you have the money and a weekend free, schedule in a little return trip. Go see your grandma. Go press your face into your cat. Go back to where you’re safe and looked after.

  • Do some physical exercise – channel your ‘wellness’

Telling depressed people to exercise is stupid and ridiculous. If you’re physically able and can bring yourself to exercise, then give it a go. Schedule it in. Take advantage of your student discount and get a gym membership, or sign up to a student Zumba class.

If you would like more helpful tips to help you transition, cope or just get some useful advice from the Liferaft team then why not sign up today – drop us a line at info@myliferaft.com

Why not check out:

The Mind Body Spirit Wellbeing Festival is taking place at Birmingham NEC: https://www.myliferaft.com/event/mind-body-spirit-wellbeing-festival/

# Invisibly Disabled Looks Like

People Are Sharing Their Photos to Teach Others What Invisible Disabilities Really Look Like

There’s no way to “tell” that someone has a disability, and many disabilities are completely invisible — however, based on the number of times people with invisible disabilities experience judgment and skepticism, not enough people realise this. The Liferaft platform was built with this in mind – inclusivity and awareness of what’s going on ‘on the inside’. There is so much information that we can track, monitor and share through the Liferaft tool; especially the little things that might not look like a big thing – but really make a difference to us day-to-day.

That was the inspiration behind the #InvisiblyDisabledLooksLike hashtag, which was started by disability activist Annie Segarra. This week has been the first ‘Invisible Disabilities Week’ – an awareness week founded by the Invisible Disabilities Association.

As an ambulatory wheelchair user with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and comorbid conditions like chronic pain and dysautonomia she’s in a “blurry middle ground” in which going without mobility aids for even a moment leads others to assume she’s faking her disability or getting better simply because they don’t think she “looks disabled.”

“As I’ve started losing abilities I’ve started receiving similar comments, from ‘You know if you just lost some weight you probably wouldn’t need that wheelchair’ (a mixture of fat antagonism and ableism) because they saw me stand up and take my wheelchair out of the trunk of my car, to hearing someone talk about me to their child, ‘God will punish her for playing around in that thing’ referring to an electric shopping cart at the supermarket,” Segarra said.

“I started #InvisiblyDisabledLooksLike in hopes of raising awareness that disability is diverse and it won’t always look as you expect it to, but it doesn’t make one’s disability any less valid.”

Segarra shared her own photo to start things off and since then, thousands of people have used the hashtag, with many sharing their own photos and explaining how their disability affects them, even when others don’t believe they’re “really” disabled.

Segarra said she always thought the idea of disability having a specific look was ridiculous, and that she hopes more awareness will lessen the prejudice people with non-apparent disabilities experience.

“Disability is incredibly diverse and is often not recognisable just by looking at someone,” she said.

To find out more about Annie Segarra, use the tweet #InvisiblyDisabledLooksLike

For more information on Liferaft, click here.

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