Carers are our unsung and unpaid heroes.
Change can be difficult for many of us and learning to adjust can prove challenging for any able body person. Controlling those emotions and keeping active both mentally and physically through stressful times, is what we are all advised. This is all fine when we have good health, including mental health, independence, and mobility. Working with many vulnerable clients, we witness so many different scenarios and needs.
Our concern is not only for those that are vulnerable and dependant on others to support them through these difficult times but also in circumstances where the impact is influencing the living conditions and wellbeing of the whole family.
Spare a thought
While we are all doing our part to help the vulnerable, we must spare a thought for unpaid carers that are looking after a loved one, especially in these challenging times. Many carers find that their time is restricted and governed around the needs of their loved ones and for some, they are struggling with their own health issues.
The anxiety of coronavirus and the lockdown has made this situation worse, particularly for those living within the same household as someone living with dementia or loss of capacity of any kind. The feeling of isolation, loneliness, fatigue, no time for self, frustration, desperation, and a sense of no way out of the situation can cause depression, which in turn can affect their ability to care for themselves, let alone their loved one.
We must remember that anyone can become an unpaid carer at any age! It is vital that we are observant of everyone’s needs and support them whenever we can so that things do not escalate out of control and safeguarding measures are not implemented.
Unpaid carers are also unsung heroes!
The sacrifices that unpaid carers make are commendable as too is their unconditional love. However, being on call 24/7 is not only relentless and demanding but draining both emotionally and physically. More so when our loved ones are living with mental health illnesses, including dementia.
When our loved one is displaying confusion, frustration, and aggression towards us, places a greater strain. The stress of this is made worse as they lose capacity, and you cannot reason with them, and they become violent and /or start wondering.
Lack of family support and resources can add further stress, depression, and self-neglect. It is in situations such as this that the home can become the least of their priorities and they are overwhelmed with the pressures of life.
With thanks to our 6.5 million carers
Across the UK, 6.5 million people are carers, supporting a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill. For many Caring is such an important part of life. It’s simply part of being human. Carers are holding families together, enabling loved ones to get the most out of life, making an enormous contribution to society and saving the economy billions of pounds.
Yet many are stretched to the limit – juggling care with work and family life, or even struggling with poor health ourselves. We often find it difficult to make ends meet if we’re unable to work or if we’ve reduced our working hours to care
Who looks after the carers?
This raises the question of who looks after the unpaid carer when they are feeling exhausted, both physically and emotionally, or become unwell? Having witnessed first-hand the role of a carer I am only too aware of the stress, especially when you have a young family to look after too. This is another reason I set up Every Home Maters and became a Trustee at Carers Support Merton.
Unconditional love, empathy, compassion, and kindness come second nature to many individuals and families that are caring for a loved one. This is something that cannot be taught in school, online, from a textbook, podcasts, or a seminar, but must be experienced first-hand. So, whilst the world is living in such an unprecedented time, perhaps we should take the lessons from what we are all experiencing.
Need extra help?
If you are a carer or know a carer that needs some additional support, then we would welcome the opportunity to provide a free, no-obligation consultation.
Please contact Cheryl Carter here today.
Additionally, please look at Cares UK, a non-profit organisation, who provide invaluable support and have a network of recourses for carers… https://www.carersuk.org/