Carer’s Week: How being a carer can be difficult, yet empowering
This week, we’re supporting Carers Trustas one of our National Charities this year. Carer’s Trust work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems.
Olivia Perry, the chair of the Speakeasy Network, shares what life as a carer is like:
I have been a carer since the earliest age I can remember. I have seen just how difficult things can be for people with disabilities in our society, and I think it is fair to say that I had to grow up quite fast and that my experiences have shaped the person I have become today.
My brother is my inspiration for everything I do. He never complains about anything – even when in pain or when he has been treated unfairly. On a bad day, he will still make a joke and make everyone smile. I have no idea what I would do without his extraordinary memory – which has been proven to be more reliable and quicker than Google!
He never fails to surprise me or my family and has continually proved people wrong. He inspires me every day to be the best I can be.
A time I remember vividly is when I was 12 years old and my family spent the Christmas period in hospital with my brother undergoing a serious back operation. Cold turkey sandwiches were not an ideal Christmas lunch and even Father Christmas coming to visit didn’t distract from the situation. I could not have received more support from family, hospital staff and my school. This was probably one of the most important Christmases I have ever had. I have never seen anyone more dedicated to getting back on their feet. Within two weeks of having the operation, my brother was able to walk up and down the stairs with ease. He could not have done this without serious mental strength and bravery. Although it was a difficult Christmas, I have had the opportunity to see that level of dedication and perseverance which I may not have seen if I wasn’t a carer.
Caring for my brother has given me a sense of purpose, a wish to enact change, and break down barriers and the stigma around disability and carers.
At present, the young carer population (aged 16 – 25) is c. 376,000 people and the wider carer population age is seven million people. Carers can feel isolated and be overwhelmed by their responsibility and commitments from time to time. It is important to show support for people in caring roles.
During my time at Mazars, I have been in contact with many people from all parts of our business who are carers. Each experience is completely different, however, the more that carers in Mazars can talk to each other, the better. There are plenty of people to talk to that will empathise with difficult situations you may encounter.
I hope others will feel able to share their story, and that carers reading this know that there is always someone that will listen. Mazars tries its best to care for carers.
If you would like more information on how to support Carers Trust, please visit their website and use hashtag #CarersWeek to raise awareness of the charity this week.