Getting Carers connected - Carers Week 2019
It’s Carers Week this week (10 to 16 June). Now in its 25th year, Carers Week celebrates and recognises the vital contribution made by the UK’s 65 million carers. The theme this year is ‘getting carers connected in their communities’.
In Camden, we recognise the hugely important role carers play in supporting people to stay well and independent. For our own celebration of Carers Week we wanted to share the stories of some of those people in a caring role in Camden and the difference that being connected to their local community and services has made to them.
Gabrielle has lived in Camden nearly all her life and has been a carer for her mother, who has Alzheimer’s, for the last five and a half years.
She says, “I provide all live-in primary care support for my mother 24/7. There are simply not enough hours in the day, so the pressure is often enormous to get everything done, particularly as I also work. The emotional impact is huge dealing with the day to day needs and watching your loved one deteriorate as the condition progresses.
“The support I have had from the Camden Carers Service (CCS) over the past five and a half years has been truly outstanding. It has made a profound, fundamental difference to me and my Mum’s ability to come this far and still keep going!
“I have had superb support and advice on a range of issues. Also their counselling service has been excellent for me – and anything that helps me, helps Mum too. I cannot praise or recommend CCS enough."
Simon has lived in Camden for 12 years and was a full-time carer for his Mum, who has Alzheimers, for nine years before she passed away.
He says, “Camden Carers Service made a very big contribution to our lives. They provided continuous support and guidance as to how our life together might be improved, be it putting in place activities we could attend, arranging for my mother to attend a day centre or telling us about wellbeing services available to us. They made us feel part of the community by constantly organising events we or I could attend.
“When my mental health started to deteriorate they provided active counselling, put in place mindfulness sessions and guided me towards iCope appointments at St Pancras Hospital.
“Since my mother’s death, they have continued to support me, advising me of benefits I am entitled to and putting in place carer’s counselling to help me back into the workplace.
“These are just a few of the ways in which Camden Carers have made a difference to me and my mother’s life, but indeed they have done much more.”
Hannah has cared for her Dad since losing her Mum. In March she won a Camden Youth Award for the courage she has shown in overcoming personal challenge.
She says, "Since my mum died I need to give my dad a lot more support. He is partially blind because he has glaucoma. My brother is 28 and doesn’t live at home now.
"I enjoy music, PE and drama. I like musical arts and would like to do something with performing arts – I’ll see what happens.
“I love my youth centre at Coram’s Fields. I don’t know where I would be without them – they’re so good.”
Jacky has lived in Camden for 15 years and been a carer for 29, since her daughter was born. She also cared for her mother when she developed Alzheimers.
She says, "It is always hard to say you are a “carer” when you are a mother of a young child. It wasn’t until my daughter was 14 and I reached crisis point that I admitted this was the case.
"I thought I could cope with most things thrown at me. However being a carer is extremely isolating and nobody should be left alone to deal with such a massive responsibility.
"Being part of Camden Carers Services was a life saver. They have helped me with health and wellbeing, creative activities and essential advice and support."
Are you supporting a family member or a friend who is frail or has a physical disability, mental health issue, learning disability, substance misuse or a life-limiting condition? If so, you are a carer.
You may live with the person you care for or they might be over the other side of the country. You could be supporting them with physical care, emotional support, liasing with professionals, managing their finances, advocating for them or you may be on call in a crisis.
You might not identify with the word 'carer' - you may feel that you are doing what anyone else in your position would do. That's OK. It's not the label that matters, but what recognition and support you are receiving for what you do.
The Camden Carers Service provides offers advice, support and activities for family and unpaid carers across the borough. Services and activities are available and free of charge to any unpaid carer who lives, works or studies in Camden or cares for someone who lives in Camden.
In this short film Camden Carers Service talk about what they do and some carers explain the difference being a part of it has made.
Share your story
Whether you have lived in Camden all your life or recently moved here, we want you to share your experiences, memories, hopes, journeys and reflections about your time in the borough. Whatever your story, whether you have a memory of growing up or moving here, favourite place or reflection on your community, we'd love to hear it.
The stories you share will form part of the We Make Camden campaign to celebrate Camden's communities.Our people make Camden the place it is: unique and welcoming, with a rebellious spirit. 'We make Camden' stands together with our communities, celerates our diversity and gives everyone a voice.