Roger cares for his wife Stephanie who has scoliosis, so she has difficulty walking, and heart problems. She’s had to have operations both for her heart and mobility. Roger cares for Stephanie by making sure she has the help she needs to continue living an independent life.
‘I look after Steph, I do all the housework and cooking and help her get around.’
Roger has learning difficulties which makes it even more challenging for him as he looks after Steph.
‘We don’t know how things will be in the future, I don’t know how much longer she will be able to walk. It’s one day at a time,’ says Roger.
Thanks to the Carers’ Centre, Roger knows he has somewhere to turn to when things get too much. A place to take time out from the stress of a caring role. He volunteered to install the new garden at Woodlands, and is looking forward to working on it in the future.
‘Gardening makes me happy and feel good in myself. I will enjoy being able to get out and about and want to learn more about gardening.’ The Carers’ Centre has also supported Roger and Steph by giving them the opportunity to do things together as a couple. Woodlands will offer a dedicated place to provide more breaks for carers and their loved ones.
Rosie joined the Carers’ Centre six years ago when she was struggling to care for her husband Den, who has Alzheimer’s.
‘I was caring 24/7 for my husband Den, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and I had a very difficult full-time job. I had come down with a cold – just a cold – and it was just the end of the tether for me. I was absolutely exhausted. I didn’t know what to do with Den or how to manage being unwell for a few days,’ said Rosie.
The Carers’ Centre introduced Rosie to a peer support group where she could meet people in similar situations.
‘To see other carers in those situations really reminds you that you’re not alone or isolated. People can tell you that they know about Alzheimer’s but until you’ve lived with it 24/7, you don’t know. Speaking to someone who really does understand makes all the difference,’ she said.
‘Without the Carers’ Centre I would really be struggling. Their help meant I could keep working for a much longer period of time. It kept me sane and it allowed me to have my own life,’ said Rosie.
Woodlands provides a safe space for carers to come and take time out, even if it’s just half an hour for a cup of tea or to read a book. Things that while we may take for granted, for carers can mean the difference between coping and not.
20 year old Kelly has helped care for her sister, Holly, since she was five.
“Being a young carer makes you different,” she explained. “You carry a lot more responsibility and can’t go out much with your friends. I didn’t do so well at school.”
Things got more difficult for Kelly last year as her mum was diagnosed with a serious heart condition.
“Mum spent a month in the Royal United Hospital in Bath and it was difficult to see her so poorly. As well as cooking Christmas dinner for the first time by myself, I had to look after Mum and Holly. But my turkey tasted great and the Carers’ Centre gave us a hamper of lovely treats!”
Since then, Kelly has taken part in our Time for Change and Arts Award programmes at Woodlands. She has developed her skills as an artist, and now wants to use her skills to help other young carers, starting her own art club for younger ones. She has also gained support from Clive, our Employment and Training Officer, which helped her improve her CV and get a new job.
“The Carers’ Centre has helped me in lots of ways, from improving my confidence to making new friends. Woodlands is easy to get to for most people in B&NES and to have all the support under one roof is fantastic. They’ve helped me make the most of my art skills and allowed me to do more with it.”
Woodlands can give young adult carers like Kelly a place to turn to when times are tough. We’re almost at a stage where we can buy Woodlands and secure a place for carers – can you help us? Even £5 towards our goal makes a difference. Donate online here. Thank you.
The Carers’ Centre is in the process of buying our building in Bath, ‘Woodlands’.
Carers give up their time and energy to look after friends and family who can’t manage on their own. This can be tiring, stressful and lonely. We believe that no one should care alone. We want a future where every carer can find a place of support here with us.
Carers like Sophie, 10, a young carer whose dedication to her caring role makes wise beyond her years. As a young carer, she helps to look after her 8-year-old brother Ben, who has Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome, a developmental disorder.
‘He’s cheeky and lovely,’ says Sophie. ‘I wouldn’t swap him for any other brother!’ Ben often tells Sophie: “I love you more than the highest mountain in the world.”
But it’s not easy for Sophie. Ben’s condition means that he’s often awake, which makes it hard for Sophie to get enough sleep. His needs also take up much of their mum’s time, so Sophie doesn’t often get to enjoy mother-daughter time.
Woodlands is a place for Sophie and other children like her to play, have fun and enjoy their childhood. She loves going on the young carers’ trips and activities as she says they help her to relax and not worry as much. Keeping the building will provide a dedicated space for young carers’ activities indoors and outdoors.
My name is Surrinder and I am a parent carer for my daughter Nina who is on the autistic spectrum. I have always loved travel; it is so exciting seeing new places, people and being enriched by them.
I am going to be doing the Dalai Lama Trek in October 2015 in aid of the RUH Cancer Care Campaign.
This is something I have always wanted to do and one day in April as I was out walking the poster outside the main entrance to the RUH caught my eye. I had not been feeling very well and all of a sudden I found myself thinking how much I wanted to do this challenge for me. Once I had sent the email requesting more information I was very much on that road. I signed up end of April and have been doing my training walks for the 67km trek as well as fundraising.
I was born in Northern India and I recall my father saying from our house in India we could see the Himalayas, so it is an opportunity to connect with a part of my heritage. It is a challenge on so many levels for me. It is the first time I will be travelling completely on my own and camping for 5 days with only basic provisions. No toilets or showers!
It is time for me to find that adventurous creative part of me that has been lying dormant for a while.
This is my story and if it helps someone else to go out there and do something that they have always wanted to do but haven’t , then go and do it now. Life is for living and sometimes being a carer can become all consuming. It is easy to lose sight of one’s own needs. Self care is important if you are to continue to give your loved one the support they need.
One of our brave Skydivers is our own Marketing & Communications Coordinator, Emma Tucker. She shares her thoughts on signing up for something she never thought she would do!
I’m really not an adrenaline junkie. I’m a quiet person who likes to read, curl up in bed or by the fire, walk my dog and eat delicious food. That would seriously be my ideal day. But a couple of months ago I decided I was going to do a sponsored skydive for the charity I work for – the Carers’ Centre.
I had considered the skydive the morning we started to look into it as a fundraising initiative, and already discarded the idea by lunch. But a couple of months later as the excitement began to build and we had a few willing participants, I suddenly decided I was just going to DO IT.
There was a couple of weeks where I had said I was going to do it but hadn’t taken any action – I hadn’t signed the forms or purchased my insurance (eek!!) and there was a moment there when I thought I was all talk and no action. But when have I been one to say no to new experiences?! Introverted as I may be, I went to France for four weeks at sixteen with my school, got a black belt in Karate by grade 12 and lived in the States for a year at nineteen. I think I can do a little parachute jump from 10,000 feet.
We’re getting quite excited here at the Carers’ Centre as our sunflowers have started to take root. In just 2 weeks our little seeds have gone from this……
To this! Two glorious little plants climbing so quickly to get to the sun they need a little helping hand to keep them upright 🙂
We may well have a winner on our hands here… But if you’d like to try your luck and see if you can beat us, there is still time to enter! You can either get your seeds from us (find out how here) or you can now enter using your own seeds/plants. Simply enter your details in to the form below by 12th June 2015 and you’ll be included in the grand sunflower competition of this year. There are prizes up for grabs, which will be revealed shortly, so get planting!! The rules can be found here.
To celebrate the anniversary of our beautiful Carers’ Garden, we want to get Bath & North East Somerset out in the garden too. We’re looking for the tallest; smallest and oddest looking sunflowers you can grow, with prizes for each category.
To enter the competition you will need to pick up one of our special sunflower pots from the Carers’ Centre in Bath and fill in an entry slip so we have your contact details. There’s a small entry fee of £1 but that’s it – there are no other rules, except plant the seeds and get growing! If you can’t get to the Carers’ Centre, we may be able to post seeds out to you if you ask nicely 😉
Throughout the competition we’ll be posting tips and tricks on how to grow the best plant and updates on our very own Carers’ Centre Sunflowers here on our blog; Facebook and Twitter. You’ll also have the chance to post pictures showing how your plants are growing. Everyone who posts at least 2 photos or updates on their sunflower progress will be in with a chance of winning our special Participation Prize too.
When you’re ready to enter your sunflower, take a final picture of your prize-winning plant alongside a tape measure so we can see its full height. You will need to take a picture which clearly shows the tape measure touching thefloor and includes the top of the sunflower’s head. You will also need to show at least 1 person in the photo, holding the tape measure. You will also need to take a close up shot of the tape measure next to the top of the flower clearly displaying the measurement – no cheating now!! Either post the picture to Facebook or Twitter, or email the picture to email@example.com including your name & contact details.
Last date for photo entries is 24th August. Winners will be announced at our Family Fun Day on 29th August.