It’s Carers week. What do you say about being a Carer? Especially when you haven’t been further than the back street for nearly a quarter of a year.
I am a Carer for my partner Janice who has Psoriatic Arthritis. This means I spend a number of hours each week helping her live as normal a life as possible. This includes doing the cooking and cleaning, helping her get dressed and under normal circumstances (before covid) drive her to work meetings and hospital appointments. Basically supporting her to be a part of society. It can be bloody hard work, frustrating and tiring. But it’s what you do isn’t it. You look after those you love. There are 5.4 million of us in the UK. Doing our best for our loved ones.
Being a Carer changes your life. So many little things are much harder. For me it’s remembering to think and plan around how far Janice can walk. That plans can get cancelled at the last minute if she isn’t up for doing something. Dealing with people who haven’t a clue how to deal with such things and how we work around that.
It can be really frustrating for us both. In different ways though. Janice has to deal with her disability and how it impacts on her life. Myself it’s how I deal with something outside of myself, but that impacts me also. I don’t go to gigs as much as I used to, or on nights out drinking that often. But to be honest it’s all good as they say. We manage it all really well mainly and enjoy life despite the difficulties (though if you park in a disabled bay when you shouldn’t and therefore ruin our day you really can go f… yourself – your actions, for the sake of getting a pie quicker etc can stop someone doing something that you don’t even think about).
I balance being a Carer with earning a living and serving as a Councillor. I feel lucky that I work for myself so can work around that with my caring stuff. Many people have to jack work in because their bosses aren’t accommodating. Glad mine is a good ‘un!
Janice tells me I don’t look after myself enough. I do tend to run myself into the ground a bit, but am getting better at it. I am registered with Furness Carers who have been fantastically supportive, despite funding cuts. I do give myself some me time, which is very important, even if it’s just disappearing into my studio and listening to some music.
So there’s some random thoughts on being a Carer. If you are a Carer then look after yourself as well as the person you are caring for. If you know a Carer please every now and then ask them if they are ok? One of the things we always end up talking about when Carers come together is the frustration of constantly being asked how the person we are caring for is. Which is fine most of the time, but does drain us every now and then.
I am fine today thank you 🙂 how are you?