Thursday, 15 January 2015

Do you care?

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Do you care?


Many people know I've personally had a lot of experience with young carers, and I've joined in Team V's latest campaign to help spread awareness and understanding for the cause. I want to share my story with the facts Team V have produced.


Team v, a group of volunteer Leaders aged 18-25, has joined forces with The Children’s Society to deliver their latest campaign ‘do you care?’ There are over 166,000 known young carers in England, yet many remain hidden from view. Many young carers and their families don’t receive any support. We want to change this.



      Young carers are children and young people under the age of 18 years who provide regular and ongoing care and/or emotional support to a family member who is physically or mentally ill, disabled or misuse substances. 
      
      My sister, Abi, has been a young carer since the age of 12. She is now 18 and still cares for me everyday. Looking at her you would have no idea she is a young carer. She has a lot to deal with alongside caring like looking after her baby and keeping up with studies/job. She not only supports me physically but emotionally too.
·     Caring can involve a range of activities including making meals, translating, cleaning, giving medication, running errands and personal care such as washing or helping family members to get dressed.
My care needs vary day to day, since my illness is a variable one. When my ME was at it's worst I was paralysed and couldn't do anything for myself. Care tasks for me included not only making the meals for me, but cutting it up and feeding me it. Brushing my teeth, washing me, helping me use the toilet/bath, giving me medication, making sure I had enough to drink, dressing me, phoning doctors, keeping me company, supporting me emotionally... The list goes on. Nowadays, I am a lot better than I used to be, but I still need help with a lot of these things and if I relapse I can need up to 24h care. Many times I end up in a&e at 4am and my sister is up and making sure I'm ok. Caring is a 24h job, so it's important to make sure carers get the support and help they need.

·      Young carers miss out on everyday things we take for granted – like going out with friends and having time to relax.

 My sister used to get in from school, and most people her age would do their homework and go hang out with friends. Abi has missed a lot of opportunities because I've been too poorly or needed more help. It's even things like not being able to have her friends round as I needed complete silence in the house otherwise it would make me more ill. We always tried to make sure she had opportunities like the rest of her age group but sometimes this was just too difficult.

·         1 in 12 young carers spend more than 15 hours a week caring, meaning they often fall behind with their studies, don’t have time to go out with friends and find it hard to relax.
At my worst I needed 24h care per day, involving someone staying in with me overnight. This would be split up between my mum, dad and sister. Now, I still need a dramatic amount of care a day, but we've all just got used to it into our routine. I would say I still need around 35h a week care, and I'm quite well compared to more 'ill people', so that puts things into perspective.

I'd also like to say as much as my illness is 'invisible', so are the carers. You would never guess Abi spent so much of her time caring, and this is the same for a lot of others. We still manage to have a laugh, we get through the tough times and I am so appreciative to all my family for their tremendous support.

-       Visit www.vinspired.com/doyoucare to find out more about what Team v are doing to ensure all young carers and their families get the support they deserve.
If you think you, or somebody you know, might be a young carer, please speak to an adult you trust, such as a teacher. You can also go to www.childrenssociety.org.uk/youngcarer to find out about projects where you live.
You can have a look at other blogs that have been written on our blog by heading across tohttps://vinspired.com/blog.