The COVID-19 pandemic has been upon us for well over three months now. We all have had to think and do things very differently, including how we care for our loved ones.
While media coverage has been heavily focused on health, all of our public services have been impacted by the pandemic. Many of us have been impacted by the schools closing their doors to all except the most vulnerable and the children of key workers. Many of our members are juggling shifts or home working with home schooling; parents all over the world have been trying to support their children’s home learning journey. Many children and young people have been left with time to fill without the structure of school. This has not been easy for parents with no respite available as childcare facilities have been closed and grandparents off limits. Not easy for our children either, whatever their age. Many parents have run out of ideas to keep them busy and this takes its toll.
Caring responsibilities are obviously not limited to those with young children. I know many of our members are caring for or supporting elderly parents or family members with disabilities through this time while they are shielding and without the usual support services wrapped around them. It is a difficult time for both cared for and carers, all of whom I am sure could do with some support - emotional and practical.
I know that caring can be a very rewarding experience but it sometimes can be overwhelming and impact on carers’ health and wellbeing so, if this is you, please do seek support, which is available via the Carers UK website and the RCN's Lamplight Support Service.
If you are a carer, outside of your ‘day job’, you are in my thoughts this week especially. Stay safe and keep well.
(Pictured: Tommy Whitelaw of the Dementia Carer Voices Project, with his mother Joan. When he spoke at RCN Congress in 2016 there was hardly a dry eye in the house.)