Family carers do so out of love, but caring for someone 24 hours a day, seven days a week is not easy. With the added stress of isolation because of the Coronavirus pandemic, and reduced support because of the Coronavirus Act, carers across the country are now at breaking point.
As part of our Care For Carers campaign, let us introduce John, who cares for his wife Alison. John has been caring for Alison full-time since 1993, when she had a brain operation which left her with neurological and speech problems.
This is the story of John & Alison
After 27 years of caring, John is struggling now more than he ever has before. This is what he had to say to us.
Tell us what your life is like on a daily basis?
“The day is very regimented; my life is very structured. I am 76 years old now, and this is not easy, you are always worrying about the future.”
How has your caring role changed during Covid-19?
“As we have been shielding because Alison is high risk, we have been isolated. We have only had telephone contact with our children and grandchildren for the last 5 or 6 months.”
It has played on our mental state, I have tried to keep her positive over this time, which is a strain.”
Has the pandemic impacted your social care and contact with your Local Authority?
“Unfortunately, because of Covid, I have had my respite weeks cancelled this year.
I have had little contact with the Local Authority social workers over this year. In the past, it has been occasionally difficult getting hold of a social worker, and respite has been time consuming to organise.”
Do you agree with the current 14-day isolation period for taking respite?
“If clients are tested before entering [the centre], isolated for the result period, and then found to be negative, I would have thought they should be allowed run of the site.
If positive, then they would naturally be expected to isolate for 2 weeks. If Alison is expected to isolate for 2 weeks, then it would not be sensible to send her to stay – especially given the cost.”
What would it mean to you to have access to urgent respite with Revitalise during this time?
“A break soon would be a great relief. We have been regular visitors for up to 10 years now, and these breaks have been a lifesaver, mentally and physically.
Carers do their best to hold up psychologically. They do not show their feelings for fear of showing weakness (especially men) but in my case, a third of my life has been taken up caring.”
To help us support carers like John, please help us spread awareness for 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.