Am I a Carer?

Before my mum’s diagnosis in 2011, I was a daughter and a sister. I had friends and a social life. After my mum’s diagnosis my role changed, and it never really went back to normal. The changes were minimal at first. I began taking on more and more responsibilities at home in order to look after my mum after her operation or treatments. For example, in the beginning, I would just have to make sure Mum didn’t make her own cup of tea because she wasn’t allowed to lift anything over a certain weight due to increased risk of lymphedema. But that didn’t matter, everybody makes a cup of tea for their Mum. I also had to help out in the kitchen more often than usual, I didn’t mind though, I liked helping.

In the thick of Mum’s treatments, she had many bad days when she was often too tired to get out of bed. These “bad days” were becoming more and more often and, soon, making the odd cup of tea turned into making dinner for my mum and younger sister most nights too. My mum and I were extremely close, I’d do anything for her to support her while she was so fragile and vulnerable. I was her emotional confidant and she was mine. But I was only young and I couldn’t juggle it all. Eventually, I started missing classes to go to Mum’s hospital appointments and my college work was suffering. Often, I was too tired to get up in the morning because I couldn’t handle all of the pressures that I was confronted with in my life. But I didn’t care much about that because at least my mum and my sister were being taken care of.

Now, looking back and writing this post I can easily identify the period in which I became my Mum’s carer. That isn’t to say that I was no longer my Mum’s daughter or a sister, but I had more responsibilities than most people my age and didn’t know anyone who was in the same position as me, and no one to talk to other than my mum.

Unfortunately, I didn’t realise that I was a carer until September 2018, when my younger sister got in contact with Bright Futures.

It didn’t make sense at first. How could I have been a carer for such a long period without having realised? I think this is the case for many people. Like I said, the changes were minimal at first, and you really don’t mind because you’d do anything for your family.

When my sister and I registered ourselves as carers we realised that there was a lot more support available to us than we previously thought. We underwent a simple over-the-phone evaluation, where by we described our situation to someone who was able to tell us what kind of support was available to us.

We received:

  • A transition worker, who is still a huge support today!
  • a carer’s card to alert anyone that someone is at home waiting for us should anything happen.
  • counselling through Counselling for Carers
  • financial support towards a swim pass so we could keep exercising! (Evee also received a carer’s allowance which she will write a post about!)
  • money towards a weekend away!
  • a bursary from my university to help with travel expenses.
  • contact with Balloons– a charity that provide Pre and Post bereavement support.
  • A message in a bottle that you keep in the fridge with all of the details of the person that you care for. Should anything happen, emergency services will look in the fridge for these details and know exactly what is needed.

Looking back now, I can’t help but feel sorry for 16 year old me when I think of how much I struggled silently throughout college and university whilst trying to juggle home-life responsibilities as well. I loved my Mum and I was good at looking after her, but being a carer for seven years changed me, I lost a lot of confidence, and my identity suffered. Had I known to register as a carer sooner, I would have been able to receive the support that I desperately needed.

I would have been able to stay younger for longer, and I would have been able to enjoy being my Mum’s daughter, that’s enjoyed being the most. If you think you might be a carer, I have left some useful links below which talks about your rights as a carer because you are still a person, a son, a daughter, a sister, a brother,  a parent, you.

Katie

13 thoughts on “Am I a Carer?

  1. Yes, I did not see myself being a carer in my teens at the times I supported my mum too. Also even as a young adult, I still did not see myself a carer. I just automatically helped without thinking, which I bet that’s what you did, because you were just happy to support and help where required.

    I am only using the word carer for the first time this year. But seeing myself as a carer still feels strange. Although I do acknowledge I am a carer.

  2. Alexis Rose – Alexis Rose lives in the mid-west with her husband and two children. Besides writing Untangled, she has collaborated on three inspirational books, working with photographers and watercolor artists to bring inspiring and motivational messages for the heart and soul. Alexis is an experienced speaker on the topics of living with courage and resilience in the face of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. She has also presented multiple interactive workshops titled, Using One’s Innate Creativity (writing and drawing) as a Tool for Healing and Personal Growth. Alexis writes about PTSD, Mental Health, Trauma in a relateable and hopeful way. Connect with Alexis via her blog. https://atribeuntangled.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Alexis-Rose-700444583389087
    Alexis Rose says:

    You took on an enormous responsibility in a beautiful and brave way. Im so glad your sister and you were able to get the support you needed at the time and I hope you continue to receive support. Your posts will help a lot of people.

  3. TheArtOfLife – Hey! Thanks so much for checking out my blog! I decided to start this blog because i’m obsessed with Skeatching/drawing, creating photos, photography, writting, painting, and just about anything Artsy! I live out in the ‘wild wastelands’ of Alaska and enjoy skeatching and photographing its beauty. I have a huge compulsion tords history! Love reading and writting quotes. And Hanging out with my two insanely adorable chocolate labs! I’ve been on two road trips across America, which has given me an eye for photographing and sketching the worlds beauty. I divided my time bettween working on a novel, I hope to publish in the future and writing book reviews on Goodreads and, such. I also enjoy dance, baton, sports and of course, anything to do with the outdoors! At the moment i’ve been working on Upwork as a freelancer, I’d enjoy designing t-shirts, logos, Business cards (business merchandise) and editing videos/photos, writing projects and reviews. So, if you or someone you know is looking for a freelancer to hire for this kind of work, you can contact me or cheack out my profile on Upwork.com @ Joy Tiberend. Thanks, again for taking time to check out my blog and I hope you enjoy my funny stories, photography, art, sketches, quotes, video/ demos, and much more! Let your artsy side shine! “You are magnificent and unique. Love yourself and stay unique and you will beautify this world with your unique art of life.” ― Debasish Mridha
    TheArtOfLife says:

    This was very sweet, I love, how you took on such a big task of helping your family, with such grace and compassion.
    A lot of people, can sometimes forget about the care-giver behind the patient, but giving care to a physically failing and ultimately fleeing loved is a trying vocation; that deserves alot of empathy and support.
    Glad, you found away to make your profession into a career. This blog could touch meany, great work!

  4. orkidedatter – Quote: «Sometimes I wish I would get lost from my life, just sit looking from the sidelines, see how others would handle life if they were in my shoes" ... Welcome to Orkidedatter Norwegian: Sitat: «noen ganger skulle jeg ønske at jeg gikk meg vill fra livet mitt, bare sitte å se på fra sidelinjen, å se hvordan andre ville taklet livet om de gikk i mine sko»... Velkommen til Orkidèdatter.
    orkidedatter says:

  5. Sparkyjen – I'm a life loving sixty-four, who most enjoys new and different experiences. I especially admire people who don't insist on being my twin. I live life out loud, with little beating around the bush. I like to read, write, and research. I volunteer as a Dementia Certified Reminiscence Coach. Memory Finder! I also judge speech and debate contests. I love love love my family, and friends. I enjoy most spectator sports, especially, roller derby, and hockey. Other interests, hobbies, & avid pursuits include: whitewater rafting, archery, jet skiing, dancing, singing, photography, and the cinema. I live a spiritually balanced, 90% plant-based lifestyle!
    Sparkyjen says:

    In my opinion, you may have struggled, but you did so in strength. You didn’t let it break you, which I feel gave you the confidence [silent and subtle though it was] to keep going, and to keep giving. Whose to say you can’t accomplish all you have as a 16 year old? My guess is that you were born with an old soul.

    I suspect you’re still young enough to experience life’s more pleasurable moments, while also gifting others in need of support with your story. The word “carer” is only a label. You are a first-rate daughter, and to me, that makes you blood royalty!

  6. astijake John – Freelance writer, Husband to Angie, (In a fashion) father to 4 grown up children, (I think) grandfather to 3 beautiful boys and a brand new Grand daughter. In the process of writing my first novel. University graduate in English Literature and History BA Hons. TEFL Masters qualification. Level 3 NVQ Health and Social Care. Qualified in administering medications.
    astijake John says:

    Wonderful message to everyone out there who needs support. You’re a very strong and able lady.

  7. Chiru – Love to travel, occasionally play Guitar. I believe writing is more reliable than talking, so i decided to write on blog. This blog is my attempt to inspire people to change lives. If you are looking for inspiration, you'll feel right at home here...!! Every one requires a little inspiration to change their lives in their hard times. Someday if i am gone or my memories fade away, my words still remains to inspire people. Live like tomorrow doesn't exist.
    Chiru says:

    Great share and helpful for those who need support…

  8. OIKOS™-Editorial – ESLARN-Weiden (Europe - Germany) – We are a small newspaper located in Germany, near Czech Republic. You will find our monthly magazine at www.issuu.com/smde. --------------------------- During GDPR-conflicts our blog is privatizised since May, 25, but all reblogs and postings are automatically for warded to our Twitter-Account @EslarnerZeitung, and connected RSS-portals. ----------- Wir berichten u.a. auch aus der bayerisch-tschechischen Grenzregion. Blog zum kostenlosen, monatlichen pdf-Magazin "DEEZ" (ISSN: 2366-4908). Gibts nur unter: issuu.com/smde
    OIKOS™-Publishing says:

    Thank you for your work as a carer. Its a good advice too, i will spread. Michael

  9. I’ve been through a similar thing, moving from being just a daughter to being my moms caregiver. Thank you for this…I’ve never been able to explain this feeling to anyone.

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