Harrogate Care Company Cares for Carers

Local company Home Instead who support people living in their own homes in and around the towns of Harrogate, Ripon and Thirsk recently took time to reflect during Carers Week on their own employees who are not only busy working as professional Home Instead Caregivers but who also look after their own family members.  

Carers Week, 7th-13th June 2021 is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlighting the challenges carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. This year, carers across the country are continuing to face new challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are taking on more caring responsibilities for their relatives and friends who are disabled, ill or older and who need support.

According to the charity Carers UK, who state ;  ‘There are 6.5 million people in the UK who are carers. They are looking after a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness or who needs extra help as they grow older. Caring's impact on all aspects of life from relationships and health to finances and work can be significant, and carers are facing even more difficult circumstances this year. Whilst many feel that caring is one of the most important things they do, its challenges should not be underestimated. Caring without the right information and support can be tough. It is vitally important that we recognise the contribution carers make to their families and local communities, workplaces and society, and that they get the support they need.’

Home Instead Caregivers Jackie and Mandy, took time out from their busy lives to share their experiences of looking after a loved one and how the care that they provide is so valuable and which we feel should be recognised and acknowledged. 

Jackie's life took an unexpected turn when her husband Adrian become ill.  Here she tells her story and shares how she copes each day:
‘So you just never think it will happen to you! …..then one Saturday morning 18 Months ago as we prepared our breakfast my husband Adrian said he couldn’t really lift his right arm and it felt weak,  I asked him to lift both his arms out in front of him and he really did struggle with his right arm!  I knew what this might be and of course Googled it. I said we need to go to A & E and get you checked.  We did and so our lives changed.
 It was confirmed that he had had a Transient Schematic Attack (Mini stroke) He had MRI’s and scans of his brain.  A tiny clot had caused a tiny blockage of a blood vessel in his brain. At this time Adrian was not too bad in himself and after a few days was able to come home.  He had Physio therapy for a short time and exercises to do at home, Medicines to take and observations to make like Blood pressure and Blood sugar readings.  Adrian had been diagnosed with Type II diabetes a year prior to this.

So 18 months on and a multitude of medication changes, dosage changes, appointments and emotions we are still not where we would like to be but battling on to get there! Side effects of medication has made Adrian tired and concentration can be hard at times. This is the most bitter pill to swallow as he had been such a busy, fun, life and soul kind of guy who now feels redundant and totally fed up!
I have had to learn to navigate through the changes in our life and factor in the new routine, along with my work and checking medications, ordering repeat prescriptions, decanting pill concoctions into the dossette box weekly ( I would not have had confidence to do this if not for Home Instead training), taking readings of BP and Blood Sugar daily for the doctor to monitor, keeping track of appointments for Adrian and for me, I must remember to make my appointments also, two check-ups already late because of Lockdown!  So many things to remember! Oh my!  However I am a positive person and like to think patient and kind.  Lessons learned to date are, Stay positive….easier if you stay connected with friends and family. Be patient….not always easy, but making time for yourself does really help.  Have a BIG calendar to note appointments and the rest on.  Remain optimistic, Smile and Breath. ‘

Mandy shares her own experience below  of looking after her son Harry and how building relationships with other parents in similar situations and taking some time out for yourself has really helped Mandy to cope: 
In January 2000, we welcomed our 4th child, Harry into the world, but unbeknown to us, things weren’t going to be as straightforward as they had been with his 3 siblings. It became apparent that Harry was failing to reach various developmental milestones, and was later diagnosed with severe learning disabilities and communication difficulties.
Although supportive, both sets of grandparents were unable to offer much assistance due to living so far away. As Harry grew older, his behaviour could be unpredictable, which often meant I felt like a prisoner in my own home as I didn’t want to take him out myself. He attended a special educational needs school which fortunately he loved attending and was very popular with peers and staff.
We have had stressful times over the years but also positive times, such as Harry learning to ride a bike and swim. Having regular respite care for Harry has made a huge difference, enabling us to spend quality time by ourselves or with our other children who have now left home. As well as enabling us to recharge our batteries, respite gives Harry a break from his parents! He gains new experiences and independence skills and has become more confident. Another great help has been the friendships we have with other parents who are in a similar situation, as we have a mutual understanding of what we face as carers for our children.
It is very important as a carer that you look after yourself physically and mentally and make time to continue with your hobbies and interests. I took up running which is a great stress buster!
Harry currently attends Camphill College where he is a weekly boarder. He loves it there and we can have a break from our caring role in the knowledge that Harry is safe and happy.’

Sheena Van Parys- co-owner of Home Instead added; ‘Many thanks to Jackie and Mandy for sharing their own personal stories during Carers Week to raise awareness for the army of family carers and friends in our local community who look after loved ones tirelessly  and unconditionally, who are not often acknowledged for the great work that they do. As well as looking after their loved ones,  Jackie and Mandy also look after their Home Instead clients with such  professionalism and dedication for which we are very grateful for.’

Carers Week