Thursday, 11 June 2020

My Carer's Week 2020

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This week is Carers Week for 2020.  My week will like many others, full of highs and lows, based mostly on the highs and lows of my kids.  I have three kids and although I'm 'mum' to all three, I'm also a parent carer to my sons Anthony, age 12 and David, age nine who apart from being awesome kids have diagnoses of ADHD, ASD and a variety of comorbid conditions between them,

I'm their carer because I am someone who "cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support."  You may claim that an 12 and nine year old can't cope without support anyway, but the help and assistance I give my boys goes well beyond that required of a typical child their age. This means that they impact on my life not only as a parent, but as their Carer.

It can make things more challenging. Doing anything for myself can be a struggle as they need my help most of the time and there are very few people who can ‘cover’ for me.  There are few people who understand my kids enough to even keep them physically safe. Fewer who understand their emotional well being needs.

This can make parent caters isolated, although this year maybe more than others people are more aware of them.  Perhaps that’s why this year’s Carers Week is focused on making caring visible.

For Carers Week this year, I’m sharing a week's worth of my 'caring' (just Mon-Fri), to give an insight. See what you think.

  • On a Monday (26th August 2019) I helped one of my kids do something a year before I'd have never thought possible.  Being a parent is of course about helping your kids and creating opportunities for them but when you are acting as their carer it can be a bit more challenging. See how we overcame our challenges on this awesome Monday and 'How we took our pre-verbal autistic son zip lining across the Canadian Rockies
  • On a Tuesday (10th December 2019) like many families we started to get ready for Christmas.  But in our home this takes careful planning. Christmas brings with it many changes. Despite being a very exciting time of year the upheaval and appearances around the home can cause some stress. So how do we prepare our autistic and neurotypical kids for the big things like decorations and make a success of the arrival of the Christmas Tree. See what it's like in 'Getting our autistic home ready for Christmas'.
  • On a Wednesday (11th September 2019) my son started a new school. Anthony has struggled with school for years.  We've spent months and months sorting out his right to access a suitable education.  This day was one of the days it paid off and it was an absolute joy to see my son smile as he waited for his pick-up.  See a Wednesday in 'For the first time in his life, he didn't cry about going back to school'.
  • On a Thursday (19th March 2020),  I went to the supermarket to get pre-lockdown shopping. Except it wasn't an easy shop.  Panic buying had set in.  Difficult for some and harder for those of us who have kids with restricted diet. Many don't realise how this affects many people with autism. See my caring worries on a Thursday in 'When you have a restricted diet and there is panic buying'.
New figures released for Carers Week show an estimated 4.5 million people in the UK have become unpaid carers as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is on top of the 9.1 million unpaid carers who were already caring before the outbreak, bringing the total to 13.6 million.are continuing their focus on building communities which support carers to look after their loved ones well, while recognising that they are individuals with needs of their own. In these communities, carers feel recognised and valued.

Local groups to me like Skylarks and the friends I've made who understand what our family do offer such support at this time, and throughout the rest of normality.  I hope you've enjoyed a glimpse into my Carers Week.  How was your week?

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