In light of the pandemic, it would be easy for Carers' Week to get lost in the chaos but, for a lot of carers, covid-19 has posed many new challenges. Express Reporter, Maisie Foote, wrote about some of the ups and downs she faced caring for her grandmother during lockdown...
"This year, Carers’ Week has a new meaning to me.
My boyfriend and I moved in with my grandmother last year, shortly before she was diagnosed with dementia. It was a family decision - she wanted company in the house and, being in our early twenties, we were grateful for somewhere to stay while we save money.
I am lucky. I have a very supportive family who would visit multiple times every day to make sure everything was running smoothly and that we weren’t under too much pressure.
We also received support from the wonderful community care workers, who would visit daily.
Then the pandemic came and, of course, changed everything.
Suddenly my family was no longer able to come round and external carers were, understandably, trying to cut down on visits while focusing their attention on patients living alone.
The daily support I had taken for granted had become unsafe and we, very quickly, had to adapt.
As her dementia progressed, my grandmother needed extra support and, while working full time from home, I had to take on daily tasks that had never been a part of my life before; giving medication, providing personal care, shopping and preparing meals for someone else (not to mention making countless cups of tea!).
I hadn’t really considered myself a carer. First and foremost, I am a granddaughter - I do what I do out of love - and, besides, the situation is only temporary.
Pictured: Community carers are often available to help those caring for loved ones.
But, in these last few months I have gained a new understanding of what being a carer means and why it is so important that we, as a community, are here to support those caring for loved ones.
In just a few months I, at times, felt completely overwhelmed, alone and out of my depth. Not only has it been physically and mentally demanding, but it has also been very difficult to watch someone I love change so much, with no way of controlling it.
However, I do realise how lucky I am. As soon as it was possible, my family was back to support us, along with the community care teams who are a credit to our social care system.
While we aren’t quite back to ‘normal’ yet - and I’m not sure if we ever will be - I no longer feel stressed or isolated. I feel supported
Many others will not be so lucky.
While my experience so far has been difficult, I am so grateful for the time I’ve been able to spend helping my grandmother, who did so much for me in my younger years.
Caring for a loved one is something many of us will have to do in our lifetimes. It is wonderful and rewarding, but it is tough and often overlooked by society.
We need to ensure all carers in the island feel heard and supported, and that’s why Carers' Week is so important. So, raise awareness! Share posts on social media, start conversations with your family or maybe get in touch with a friend who’s caring for a loved one to see how they’re getting on. Let carers know they are not alone.
For further information on Carer's Week and how to support carers in Guernsey click HERE."