The consequences of Coronavirus on Carers
Coronavirus has had an impact on everyone’s life this year but especially on those who are vulnerable or provide care to someone who is dependent on them. 82-year-old Dame Phillippa Russell reveals the reality of being a carer during the Coronavirus pandemic in an article in The Telegraph.
Dame Phillippa Russell is the Vice President of Carers UK and has been a Carer to her son Simon for 57 years. Simon, who has learning disabilities, lives very near to his mother and receives visits a few times a week from support workers. The pandemic has had a huge impact on Phillipa and particularly on Simon as his usual daytime activities have been suspended. Phillippa explained,
“With Covid-19, you lose those relationships you’ve built up, and for someone like Simon, it’s a disaster. The loss of face-to face contact is huge for him. I’m well connected and use Zoom, but he can’t manage a video or telephone call.”
“I also struggle to think what Christmas will be like. Simon’s has a particular ritual – he likes to go shopping in Portsmouth and attend particular carol services. I don’t think things will open up in the same way. My instinct is it will be a digitally connected Christmas, but a very lonely one. My heart sinks when I think about it.”
Who will look after my son if something happens to me?
Phillippa sees Simon every evening and he spends every weekend with her but what if Phillippa wasn’t there, who would step in to help?
Phillippa said, “I’m constantly worrying something will happen to me – and since the Covid-19 crisis began, I’ve lived in fear that I’ll get sick and won’t be able to take care of Simon.“
“Like most parents, I worry terribly about what the future will bring. But that worry is multiplied because of how much Simon depends on me. I’m constantly anxious, and not only about Covid. What if I become ill? What if I have a fall? I always wear flat shoes in case I trip over. I need a routine eye operation, but I can’t imagine how I’ll have it because how can I rest for two weeks afterwards?“
Do you have the same worries as Phillippa?
Like Phillippa, the fear of not being there to help her son must be a common concern for many Carers. At the beginning of the pandemic, Forward Carers produced a What IF plan and a What IF plan template to help Carers prepare for any worst case scenarios and provide some reassurance that steps would be place so that loved ones would be taken care of.
What about if there was an emergency?
Birmingham Carers Hub runs the Carers Emergency Response Service known as ‘CERS’. CERS is a FREE emergency back-up service for those caring for a dependent family member, neighbour or friend living in Birmingham. Back up care is provided ‘at home’ for up to two days, allowing alternative arrangements to be made with family, friends or social services. You can also benefit from a planned sitting service, so you can get to important appointments, such as at the doctors or hospital.
How can I arrange CERS?
You need to be registered with Birmingham Carers Hub first (click here to register) and then you can make an enquiry for CERS by calling 0121 442 2960.
If you are worried about what will happen to the person you provide care for should something happen to you, ensure you produce a ‘What IF’ plan, register for CERS and carry your Carers Card which identifies you as a Carer and displays your emergency contact details.
To read the full article in The Telegraph, click here.