Biography of a carer: John
The theme for this year’s Carers Week is ‘Making Caring Visible’, so we spoke to Islington carer John to ask about his experience of caring for his parents.
When did you become a carer?
John, 54, from Holloway, said: “My father was diagnosed 3 or 4 years ago with dementia. I was living away before, working as a general manager for a fashion designer, but I gave this up and moved back in with my parents so I could help to take care of them.
What are the challenges of being a carer, particularly under Covid-19?
“It’s challenging at the best of times looking after someone with dementia. During this covid-19 time, its even more challenging. My Dad keeps on putting his shoes on, and going to the door and fiddling with the locks. He’s very inquisitive all the time, and is constantly wandering around the house. I can’t leave him by himself and I have to spend much more of the day supervising him. Although we try to keep him occupied, I think he is bored. It’s difficult as he has a very limited attention span.
“Usually what we’d do, is we would make a trip to get the groceries into an outing. I’d take my Mum and Dad out to Holloway or Seven Sisters Road, to get the shopping. My Mum would choose the food that she wants, and we’d go for lunch or a coffee in a café. We’d have our routine and it’s nice for them to get out. I can’t do that now, because they are vulnerable to catching Covid-19 and it would put them at risk.
“I’m having to go out early in the morning, before my parents have got up, so that I can go to the supermarket. Some shops are accepting the letter which Islington Carers Hub provided me with, to show that I’m a carer. Others are requiring the vulnerable person to be with me, which doesn’t make sense because that would put them at risk.
What are the rewards of being a carer?
“The financial side of being a carer is difficult, particularly at the moment. I would usually work as an extra/actor on sets, but at the moment I can’t do that. Having said that, it means that I have more time to spend with my parents. I like to make Chinese treats for them, and cook nice things that I know they will enjoy.”
If you are an unpaid carer and want to find out what support is available see the Islington Carers Hub website.