I’ve been my grandma’s carer for just over three years now. She never had great health and her fall in 2012 left her unable to carry out the every day tasks you and I do without a second thought.
My gran was always an independent lady, very proud and very organised. We nickname her The Matriarch because she’s the boss. If granny says do it – you do it. Everyone in our fairly large family grew up knowing that if Grandma wanted ‘a talk’ with you, you were in BIG trouble. If you were in the good books though, and we usually were, Grandma was the go-to girl for chocolate, sweets, fizzy pop and sleepovers. Growing up in a single parent family meant I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. They were my comfort zone, my favourite people.
So when this person, who had been there for me endlessly, needed someone to be there for her… I was there. How could I not be? It would be difficult financially, logistics would be tricky, but ultimately the only other option we were faced with was to have a care agency visit my gran four times a day. Strangers coming into her home at a time when she was most vulnerable. That wasn’t what any of us wanted.
I was – and am – lucky though. My aunt shares the care with me and that means we both get breaks and holidays. For many of the UK’s 7 million unpaid carers, breaks and holidays are a rare luxury. For 30% of them, they’re not even an option. Over half (55%) of those who said they never got a break said it was because there was no one else who could take over. 41% of carers quizzed said they couldn’t go on holiday because they can’t afford to and 30% said they had nobody to pick up the responsibility of care if they went away.
That’s caring for someone seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Would you do that for no pay? Would you do it with pay? Not many would, given the choice. But not everyone gets a choice. What if your spouse, your mum, your child suddenly needed full time care? Would you be happy to do it then?
Carer’s Trust is a charity trying to improve the lives of unpaid carers. They do some great work, from offering drop-in support sessions and advice to providing much needed breaks. This month, Carers Trust are asking YOU to enjoy your breakfast.
Yep – all they’re asking people to do is get together and enjoy a delicious breakfast. Bacon and eggs, bagels and cheese – whatever takes your fancy. Invite the neighbours, get the family round or get the girls round for a lazy Sunday morning brunch. Ask guests to make a small donation for their breakfast and send it to Carers Trust. Easy!
To sign up, visit Britain’s Best Breakfast and register there. You can also download your free fundraising pack.
If you’re unable to host your own event, visit carers.org and find out where your nearest Britain’s Best Breakfast event is being held, or just text CARE to 70660 to contate £3.00 to Carers Trust.
Or if you live near me, come and have breakfast with me on 18th October!