In September, we reached out to Donna to ask if she would kindly share her story of lockdown with us for our Care for Carers campaign. We wanted to find out what impact COVID restrictions had on both Donna and her son, Danny, whom Donna has been caring for since he was born. This is their lockdown story:
An introduction to Donna & Danny
Donna has cared for her son Danny for just over 33 years. He was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy when he was 18 months old.
Donna takes care of Danny’s every need on her own, but Danny also has access to some social care outside of his home for seven hours a week. This time is split between Danny going out to the pub or just generally enjoying his time away from home. Unfortunately, this social care had to stop when lockdown restrictions were first announced, and only resumed at the end of August – nearly six months later.
Mental and physical support during lockdown
We asked Donna what support she had received during lockdown:
“We had the occasional phone call from a social worker to make sure we had masks and PPE, but that was pretty much it. They checked in and it was the usual ‘are you both fit and well?’ and we’d say; well yes, under the circumstances.”
Donna feels that they have had some physical support throughout the pandemic, but no mental support. Just before lockdown, Donna & Danny lost a very close friend, and then on the day lockdown was announced, Donna’s father passed away.
“We ended up in a desperate situation and Danny did go to Sandpipers, but obviously not for a holiday, he just needed to get away from here. I was really concerned for his mental health, not just from COVID, but of course losing the people that we lost.
I was struggling personally because of that, but then I was trying to put on a front for Danny and be brave. It was very, very difficult.”
The impact of urgent respite
Being able to access urgent respite at Revitalise Sandpipers was vital for both Donna & Danny. Donna said she felt like she could really let go as both herself and Danny had time apart from each other. Danny has an upcoming break booked, but if isolation guidelines do not change, Danny won’t be going.
“I’ve prepared Danny for the fact that he might not be going away [this month] which obviously he’s frustrated about because he’s not been going anywhere and hasn’t been seeing anyone.”
We’re aiming to Raise a Million to be able to subsidise desperately needed respite care breaks for people like Donna & Danny. Please help us to reach our target with anything you can give, large or small here.