I look after my elderly mother who sadly has been recently bereaved. Mother is very much suffering from everything that life can and does throw at you and has become quite frail. She has a damaged tendon in her foot, has severe depression and is often hysterical.

As part of my caring role, I talk with her and help keep her company; she can get quite lonely at times. I often have to be strong for her, especially when she finds it all too much.

Mother’s frailty means that she can be prone to falls, and I help protect her for these as best I can both around her home and when out and about.

I take mother shopping and will cook meals for her. We also go swimming; I take her there and help her to get in and out of the pool.

How caring affects me

Caring for mother can be immense at times. It can be both emotionally and physically draining. I find it hard on my finances and my social life has been affected too.

I find that tasks such as applying for benefits, and other admin jobs that are slightly complicated, are difficult to do and I’ll often put them off as much as I can.

What has helped me cope

I find that it often helps to learn about any situation that you may face and I’ve learned to be more patient. It helps when you are not always on top of the you look after, and to give them space, particularly if they have challenging health problems.

It pays to ask for help when you are struggling and to keep yourself informed about what help there is out there for carers. I have found this really helped me in the past. Thankfully, my employers are understanding to with regards to holiday time. The union I belong to has also helped me if I’ve come across problems at work. Financially, I have received some support in the past from The Leonardo Trust and my Church of England faith has helped guide me through some difficult times.

*Names have been changed to protect identities.

If you relate to Paul’s story, please contact us. We can put you in touch with organisations who may be able to help support you in your caring role.

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