You guys have already heard of my story looking after my mum when she had her brain tumour but I actually cared for her long before that. I’d been caring for her ever since I was 16. I’m writing this post because today is Young Carers Awareness Day and, even though I’m old now, I still wanted to chat about my time as a young carer.
Here’s a bit of a back-story: Mum had been a nurse ever since she was 17 and by the time I was 16, she had been nursing for nearly 30 years. As you can imagine that did a number on her back especially her back. She ended up developing osteoarthritis in her back and shoulders as well as the bottom of her spine starting to crumble. All that meant that she found it awful to bend, get up if she had to kneel and all the things that we take for granted.
Here is where I came in.
She may have not wanted me to care for her (she didn’t like the idea of her teenage daughter having to help her) but she didn’t have much of a choice. This is I usually ended up having to do every day:
Help get out of bed by turning her around on the bed and pulling her up
Cook breakfast, lunch and dinner
Help out of armchair
Help get dressed and put shoes on
Help put coat on
Wash her back and legs and assist out of shower
Dry her with a towel
Sort out her medication
Act as an assist as she walked with her stick
Help out of car and help get her legs into the car
Put petrol in car and pay
Do grocery shopping
There is probably more but I don’t want to end up boring you with everything. I obviously did everything on the list every day as it changed every day depending on how painful her back was and what she had been doing at work the day before.
You can guess that I didn’t get a chance to really be a teenager even if I wasn’t overly on being social anyway. She felt so guilty that I wasn’t getting the opportunity to be like everyone else my age but I couldn’t leave her to struggle. When I was at this age I was never the chance to take a break or to attend a young carers’ group to relax. Going to school and in between helping were my moments to chill out.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom being a carer since Mum and I were very close and it’s amazing how strong a bond can be when you’re helping each other every single day. Regardless of what she couldn’t do physically, she was still a mother to me. She listened to how bad my day at school was, loved what I cooked for, pushed herself to make me sandwiches for lunch when she was having a good day, made the most amazing curry when I came home and gave the best hugs.
I don’t regret caring for her at all and would do it all again in a heartbeat. If any of you are a young carer, you need to check out Carers Trust who are an amazing support! You get people who understand what you are struggling through and give you times when the person you care for gets looked after so you can be a kid again!
Were you/are you a young carer? Let me down in the comments below!