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Gill's story

Gills story

It is the feeling of vulnerability in the middle of the night that's the worst, when I am alone and can't sleep with worry and I am just praying that morning comes.

 

Gill cared for her parents at home for nearly 10 years.

Her mother, Mabel, has advanced dementia. Gill had to keep the house 'in lock down' to ensure her safety. As well as having unpredictable moods which are difficult to manage, Mabel became anxious if Gill was out of sight. So Gill ended up sleeping on cushions on the floor next to her mum's bed to cope with the agitation at night.

Her father now has dementia and other age-related health and mobility problems. Looking after them both at night-time left Gill with just a few hours' sleep, at best, which makes her permanently exhausted.

"Relatives say they admire you for what you're doing but they never offer any help – just a phone call every now and again would be nice.
I used to be involved in social activities but caring lassoed me and dragged me away from all that. I used to love spending time in the garden, now I only have brambles.
I do still have a couple of friends but I try to be careful not to talk to them too much about everything that's happening or I will wear them down. I know that I talk at them rather than to them about caring.
It's knowing that there is no back up that's so isolating. If I could pick up the phone and get some genuine, practical support instead of a lot of box ticking without any help at the end of it, then I wouldn't feel so alone.
I really don't like to look to the future at the moment. I have worked full-time all my life. I'd spent a bit but I'd saved and I was coasting towards my retirement. Then caring came along and I'm losing all my savings.
Even now that my parents have moved into a care home I still have a big role to play in their care, including things like making sure staff have actually noticed when they are ill. But I receive no support and I'm worried that the house I bought with my parents will have to be sold to pay for their care, leaving me with absolute zero."

It's not right that Gill should have to care alone. In the run up to the General Election, we're calling for candidates and political parties to recognise carers' need for recognition and support.

Only with this recognition and support will it be possible for carers like Gill to look after loved ones without putting their own lives on hold.

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