We’re pleased to introduce you to mother and daughter, Gillian & Alisha, as part of our Care for Carers campaign. Gillian has been caring for her daughter Alisha, who has MS and epilepsy and is a wheelchair user, since 2010.
We have been welcoming Alisha to Revitalise Jubilee Lodge for many years, which gives both her and Gillian a break from the everyday. Something so vital for both their mental and physical health.
With no hope of a break this year, we spoke to Gillian about the impact this has had and why they need our support more now than ever.
Life before COVID
On a daily basis, Gillian’s life revolves around Alisha. This means waking Alisha up at 6.45am to give her breakfast and medication; then getting her other children ready for school from 7.30 onwards. Carers come at 8am and 6pm to help, with Gillian supporting Alisha until she goes to bed at 9.30pm.
Alisha has a very low immune system so once lockdown was announced, the extra help from the carers they relied upon was stopped and Gillian was left alone to care for Alisha and her other children, 24/7.
“By the end of the first month, I was absolutely exhausted. I’m the only one doing her care, getting her up, washing her. It was a lot, it was intense. Most days I’d just sit on the sofa after I’d dealt with everybody and just crash.”
Gillian believes that the current isolation period is unfair for both carers and the people the care for, that desperately need respite.
As a carer without a break, Gillian doesn’t know how she will cope.
“I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to continue. I have damaged my wrist muscles. Then mentally, I’m dealing with Alisha, but I’m also dealing with the kids, and then your own issues in your head about this time being so scary and what’s going to happen.”
Gillian spoke about about what it would mean to Alisha if she was able to have access to urgent respite at Revitalise right now.
“When Alisha goes to Revitalise she doesn’t want to come home. She has such a good time. She loves meeting people and being around others. It’s her only social thing. She’s too old for youth clubs, so that’s her only way of socialising outside of seeing her family.”
Please help us support carers like Gillian and spread awareness of the struggle family carers are facing right now. Together we can make a difference.
You can also donate to our Raise A Million appeal and help those who urgently need a break access one today.