Through our Care for Carers campaign we’ve spoken to disabled people and carers from all walks of life. Regardless of age, disability and gender, it’s clear that everyone has struggled this year.
Of course, that doesn’t mean all disabled people are the same, and yet the blanket restrictions imposed by the Government fail to recognise this and are in fact making life harder for some…
We chatted to mother and daughter duo, Holly and Bev, about their experiences during lockdown and what impact Covid-19 has had on them.
As a young and independent woman, life for Holly before lockdown was very social. She lives alone and has carers come in to help her, as well as receiving care support from her Mum, Bev. Holly told us that because she would usually be out and about, at church or with her theatre and arts and crafts groups, the most isolating part of lockdown was not having access to friends or anything social physically.
When we spoke to Bev and Holly, the country had begun opening back up again, with many people going abroad for holidays and regularly eating out in restaurants. For Holly, who is severely disabled, this was not an option. We asked their opinion on the guidelines around shielding and isolation.
Bev said: “It’s inhumane quite frankly. I understand that they’re now belatedly trying to shield the vulnerable and there are a lot of vulnerable people out there, but also you can’t live risk free. Nobody can and Holly agrees.”
“People like Holly who have severe disabilities have no other choices, unlike some elderly people who have the option to go to a hotel if they are mobile enough for a break.”
For Bev and Holly, the most frustrating thing about the guidelines is that they are not specific to Holly’s needs. In fact, they argue that by imposing a 14-day isolation on Holly if she wanted to go on holiday with Revitalise (or another care provider), the Government is making life harder for Holly by removing her independence and so negatively affecting her mental health.
Bev said: “We’re happy to take a COVID test or any number of tests that we have to, if the results could be turned around in a 48-hour period. We think that would be an acceptable way forward to try and protect those who are vulnerable.”
“The regulations are so draconian, and in human terms they are barbaric! They are preventing those who need help most in accessing services like Revitalise, who are perfectly placed to support vulnerable people. Where else can those people go?”
We are campaigning to ask the Government to look at the guidelines around care homes through our Care for Carers campaign. We are asking them to recognise respite breaks as an emergency service, and therefore reduce the isolation period needed for someone to access our care to three days.
For Holly, who says, “I’d like to be able to just be around other disabled people without the need to isolate”, a break right now is vital.