Introduction

The aim of this course is to get you started on thinking about yourself, where you are now and what you want to do in the future. Thinking about what you really want to do, and finding out how to make it happen, can really change your life.

Caring Counts was produced by The Open University in Scotland in collaboration with Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance, together with individual carers centres and Carers Trust Scotland [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Watch the short film ‘Caring Roles and Learning Lives’ below to hear why reflection is valuable in terms of helping you recognise skills and abilities developed in your caring role. You will hear too about the importance of ‘me time’ – taking a break from caring responsibilities and an opportunity for personal development.

Download this video clip.Video player: caring_roles_and_learning_lives.mp4
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Transcript

Louise Morgan, Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance
When someone becomes a carer, it may not be obvious to them and they may find themselves going down into the depths, before actually realising they’re a carer and that they are entitled to some kind of support. So that what we need to do with our support for carers is to help them make that experience the best that it possibly can be.
Jade, carer
I didn’t really realise I was a carer, em, I just kinda seen it as life. I’d seen a leaflet about young carers and I was like oh that sounds like a couple of people in my work. And I was reading it a bit more thoroughly and I was like wait that actually sounds like me as well.
Dean, carer
I never ever labelled myself as that, it was almost, I wouldn’t say expected, I would honestly say that yeah – it’s expected. But it’s no something that I need to even think about, it’s just, he needs looking after, I’ll help him.
Emma Azzopardi, Carers Link East Dunbartonshire
A lot of them have been caring for whoever, whoever it is, whether it’s a family member of a friend for quite a number of years and they might have been doing it since they were 7 years old. And to them it’s just the normal thing. Ah, they don’t, they don’t refer to themselves as carers. They’re just doing what they would do for the person they love.
Sarah Burton, The Open University in Scotland
The experience we’ve had talking to carers is that just simply taking the time to sit back and reflect on what they’ve been doing can have a very positive effect on their confidence and self-esteem. Just sitting and naming and describing the achievements they’ve had in, just in, their caring role and getting through. That really makes them feel proud of what they’ve achieved and that gives them the sense of confidence to move on and make other decisions in their lives.
Lindsay Hewitt, The Open University in Scotland
The aim of this free online resource is to get people thinking about themselves, em, and their skills and abilities and qualities and thinking about where they are now.
Lesley, carer
I think I definitely became more confident after I did the OU course and the Reflections Toolkit. Confident enough that I could do the part-time studying and I just felt that it was something that I actually could do and that I could fit it in.
Katrina, carer
Well it's two years on from that day and it’s a different, I’m living a different life. It’s almost unbelievable. I look back to two years ago and I can’t believe that I am where I am today. I never thought I’d see this day again.
Gavin Patterson, Renfrewshire Carers Centre
One of the things we look at in terms of reflection is em the skills. What skills and attributes do they have. Where have they got those skills and attributes from. And generally it’s quite surprising for them because they tend to find that they have much more skills and attributes than they thought they did through their caring role.
Louise Morgan, Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance
It’s about making sure that carers can look back. What have they done? What have they learned? What skills have they developed from being a carer? And making sure that they’re aware of them and they’re able to sell that perhaps to an employer or to take them on into university or a college course.
End transcript
 
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In the following sessions, carers living in Scotland tell us about their experiences and how reflection has helped them. While some aspects of their stories and circumstances may chime with your own situation, all their experiences and journeys, like yours, are unique.

Downloads

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What is reflection?