Last week we heard from Jayne about the challenges she faced caring for her mum, who has dementia. She said she felt like their roles had reversed and she had becoming the ‘nagging mother’, asking her mum to tidy up or cut her nails. Her friend Allie helped her by coming in and cleaning the house so her mum still felt like she had her independence.
Listen in to the second half of the conversation where Jayne talks about coping with emotional fallout.
Sue Judge is a parent carer who looks after her son, Tobias, who has a diagnosis of Asperger’s, along with her other two children. Sue has struggled with the idea of calling herself a ‘carer’ to her son, despite his additional needs that demand more of her than a typical parent.
‘It’s a constant stress that is always there,’ Sue says, of being a carer. ‘I can’t leave Tobias on his own in the house. Caring for someone is a day in, day out job that doesn’t go away and that can be part of why it’s so difficult.’
Through her work, Sue meets many carers and says people often feel the same way as she did.
‘I’ve found it’s an incredibly common theme for people to feel like it’s ‘just their job’ to look after someone – particularly if it’s their child,’ says Sue. ‘And I say to those people that if you don’t look after yourself you can’t give, you can’t pour from a cup which is empty. There is help and support out there.’
When Sue’s mother became ill in 2014 and also needed looking after, Sue had to stop her work as a nutritional therapist for some time.
At The Carers’ Centre, we aim to shine a light and give a voice to carers who often go unnoticed in society. Carers perform an inspirational role and sacrifice so much when they look after someone, and we are constantly amazed by their resilience and bravery. This blog post aims to highlight just a few of the wonderful things our carers have achieved.
In July 2015, Katy did a Skydive for us, helping to raise over £1000 for the centre. These funds helped to buy our Woodlands centre, providing a permanent home for carers in BANES. The following month, one of our carers Tracey was featured on ITV’s Lorraine, speaking with her husband Paul about his early-onset Alzheimer’s. In October it was a delight to name Tracey (along with Becky and Jennie) as an ‘Unsung Hero’ for her bravery and determination.
Featuring in our latest edition of CareTime, Donna Smith cares for her four grandchildren and lost 30lbs in 30 weeks through our Community Activator programme. She now feels happier and healthier thanks to Jane and Kath, and leads a more active life.
Many of our carers feel empowered enough to start businesses, managing work around their caring role and turning a hobby into profit. Some carers even bring their creations to our biannual Craft Fayres, helping to raise money for the Centre as well as for themselves.
Other carers use their confidence and initiative to set up groups, both at our Centres and within their local communities. For instance Jayne saw a need for a support group at her child’s school, and now runs a regular group for up to fifty parents. Meanwhile, at our Bath centre, Bev runs a regular support group for carers of people with challenging mental health conditions.
These wonderful people prove how determined carers can be, and that despite having complex home lives, they are willing to give back to the community. We’re so grateful for all their hard work and determination and can’t wait to see them all soon!
News and views from Bath North East Somerset Carers Centre