To highlight this years Carers Week theme of Making Caring Visible, we asked carers to send us to something that reflected life as a carer during lockdown. Having faces, real stories and experiences of caring helps us all to understand the reality of life for carers.
We know the stats, we know that 74,000 people in Leeds are looking after someone who relies on them. But stats can never demonstrate the hard work that carers undertake, their resilience and the impact of caring.
Thank you to every carer who shared your experience. Caring during this crisis and clearly brought many new challenges but one thing that connects each experience is a clear dedication and love for the people you care for.
So, let’s take a look at what carers across Leeds have sent us….
Here is a lovely poem guaranteed to put a smile on your face!
Karen, who usually runs monthly craft sessions for carers, has shared her lockdown creations.
Nikki has used her stunning photography to make this relaxing Carers Week video.
Read this blog to see how older carers have been using social media to stay in touch.
We know that around 10% of every workforce balance their job with caring for a loved one. We have a dedicated service to support working carers, and we work with employers to help businesses put systems in place so no-one has to give up work. There’s still a long way to go and some carers feel they have no choice but to leave their job so they can care.
Here Jackie talks about her very challenging role caring for her husband during lockdown after giving up work.
One of the specialist support services we have at Carers Leeds is to support parent carers. Caring for a child or young person with additional needs can be challenging and with the added pressures of lockdown, school closures and social distancing, parent carers are finding things really difficult.
Here Steph from our parent carer service and fellow parent carer, talks about her experience looking after her son during lockdown.
Here, Mitzi tells us about caring for her mum Dot who lives in a care home.
Here are some quotes from carers about their lockdown experiences
“My husband was diagnosed with early onset dementia in 2016, he is now in a care home. Lockdown has been really difficult with all the concerns about care homes, luckily his home has not had any cases of the virus. I have been able to speak to him via Skype and in person through the glass door on his birthday in May. He is now having mobility problems, and had a number of small falls, which makes it difficult not able to call in and see him.
It’s a very worrying time and a few friends have lost their partners to the virus whilst in other care homes.
The support from our whatsapp group has been invaluable and other organisations like the Dementia Hub, nurses at St Mary’s, Lucy at Carers Leeds and Peer support have been brilliant.”
Some carers have shown how resourceful they are:
“I care for my son who has physical and mental health issues. During lockdown I have arranged with a local taxi firm to collect and deliver my son’s laundry.
I also arranged for my son to have his weekly shopping delivered. But because the bags have been in a taxi, I have a strict washing routine and dispose of the bags.”
“In the time we’ve spent together during lockdown… We have become that much closer! Learned how much more we appreciate each other and the support groups, services that we as family used before lockdown that we have temporary lost because of this situation.
Lockdown for us has been with it’s ups and downs. It hasn’t always been easy. Especially with three children, two of which have additional needs. They are upset about the loss of their routines and not fully understanding all of this.”
“We’ve been keeping positive as much as we can. My husband was made redundant from his job in the lockdown and I haven’t been able to help support my mum who I care for. But luckily for my mum (and me) I called around her area and found a charity to help. They help my mum with food shopping and have been calling her to check on her and to ensure she has enough in place which has been my lifeline. Lockdown has taught us how truly valuable support groups, charities really are for us all.”
Peter, who cares for his Son Euan, has been working from home. He has enjoyed getting out for a walk with Euan at the end of the working day. By the look of this video Euan also enjoys getting out in the fresh air!
Imogen, who looks after her Grandad, is also enjoying time in the garden as well as baking some tasty treats for her family.
In the final of our carer experiences, here is a lovely poem written by a carer from our dementia support group.