Thursday, 13 June 2013

Carers Week...

Me and my Mum
There are lots of definitions of a carer, some just didn’t do the term justice, some were a bit derogative and some just pissed me off, so here is the best one I came across:
‘A carer is someone of any age who provides unpaid support to family or friends who could not manage without this help. This could be caring for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems.’
I guess under this definition, I myself am a carer. I don’t tend to delve into my personal life too much on this blog, this is for many reasons which include not wanting to bore you all, wanting to keep this space positive and fun, but mainly sometimes not knowing the right words to say to explain my personal world. However this week is national carers’ week and it is a subject that is close to my heart. I feel I need to express my views on the subject and I just wanted to share with you my own experience of being a carer.
You see, my mum has Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This is something that effects people who suffer from it in many different ways and there is very limited medication to stop it. For my mum she has no feeling from the waist down and is slowly losing the use of her hands now too. This then has other knock on effects, such as having to use a catheter which then means she suffers from horrendous water infections. My mum also suffers from depression and has short term memory problems, then there’s the slurred speech thrown in for fun. It’s also one of those things where she has good days and bad days and the weather has a big effect on this, for example the heat seems to make all the symptoms worse. It’s a degenerative illness, so we have watched as little by little the MS takes more of a hold. I am not a doctor, this is just what I’ve seen my mum go through, and it affects everyone so differently.
Therefore due to my mum’s illness, I, my siblings and especially my dad have cared for my mum. She needs help with most things, she is a wheelchair and needs support going to the bathroom, having a bath, being put to bed as well a smaller things like writing and cutting up her food. I remember one summer holiday when I was younger, my dad had to work away so us children all dug in and cared for my mum. I don’t remember ever thinking of it like that, it was just something we got on with and did. Now as I’m older and especially as I recently moved back home for a bit, I have realized how much work this entails and how incredible my Dad is. I’m sure when he married my Mum 30 odd years ago he never envisioned wiping her bum one day or having to learn an encyclopedia of medication. But my Dad has and I know will continue to do this as he loves her. He works full time, however if my mum is stuck and needs him he dashes home, he does. How many people do you know who would do that without complaining?
I don’t want anyone’s sympathy, I don’t know life any other way. I have grown up with this and its part of who I am now. I think what I and my siblings have experienced growing up has made us stronger, open and more caring, worldly individuals. We all have a good sense of humour and we know how to handle uncomfortable situations in a light hearted way. You’d be surprised at how often that comes in handy! I’m also super lucky at how close my family is, and even though we are normal and drive each mad at times, I know my mum being poorly is made a lot easier to manage by us all being supportive of each other. It is funny we never really talk about this subject, id even go as far as saying it’s probably a bit of taboo, we all have the mentality of its life, let’s get on with it. On reflection it makes me wonder how many other carers think and act like this? And do they get the support they need?
The purpose of me writing this is to say that carers don’t get enough recognition, they are amazing people who put others above themselves and often go beyond the call of duty. They give however they are caring for that little bit self dignity and independence which is so important.  Also as someone whose experienced firsthand what it’s like to be a young carer, they don’t need you to feel sorry for them, they just need a bit of understanding and support. Life goes on and you have to do what you have to do. I just feel there are some amazing people out there such as carers, who often put their own lives on hold whilst looking after a loved one and we need to let them know how valued they are. If you know someone who cares for someone, take some time to offer them a cuppa and let them know they have someone who can be there for them too. A small gesture can make such a massive difference.


  1. Amazing post, this has had me in tears this morning. My friends mum suffered with MS for many years & I saw first hand how much it effects a family. It amazes me how much people pull together & don't think twice about all chipping in, not stopping for a minute to realise how special they are.

    I take my hat off to you & your family as I have seen how hard it can be at times, but also how rewarding.

    It's so nice to read a post that can have such an effect on someone & also praises the work carers around the world do.

    Hayley @ Teapartybeauty


    1. Thank you so much for such a lovely, kind comment. I was welling up this morning when I first read it! I don't normally do posts like this but have read a lot of random things about carers over the past few days and wanted to share my story. xxx

  2. I enjoyed reading it and seeing from you point of view and how you feel.Also you mentioned your father and other siblings how it affects you all but the fact that you all pull together is fantastic.Thank you for sharing and you are right Carers don't get the recognition that you all deserve BUT hopefully this is changing with organisations such as Carers teams,Carers Resources to name just two and more support and acknowledgement will be given.Thank you again .Tracy

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment. There are some fantastic organisations out there who are doing wonderful work. I just wanted to share my experience and how important it is that we all make sure carers feel valued and appreciated. Im so lucky my family that my family are pretty supportive of each other, especially of my Dad who does the majority of looking after my mum now we are all older and 'flown the nest'. Unfortunately some people don't have any support xx

  3. Totally agree, there really isn't enough recognition for carers or support! Hats off to you for caring for your mum it must be really difficult for you & your family- not to mention your mum, so really well done.


    1. Thank you lovely. We don't know it any other way so cant complain! I just think its important to highlight that carers are so important, what they do is priceless and they need to know they are not on their own! xxx

  4. Lovely article and lovely written. Well done, you all do a brilliant job and I am sure your mum appreciates it more than anything :) xo

  5. This is a post that really tugged at my heartstrings. What a great thing you do. Carers deserve a lot more credit than they are given. It's not easy with good and bad days but you should be so proud of your family and yourself.

    - Reena


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