Life as a carer

My name is David, I'm 41 years old and caring for my mum, Lindsey. My mum is 74 and in June 2020 she had a bleed on the brain and suffered a stroke. This affected her mobility and she's lost full use of the left-hand side of her body. My mum also has type 2 diabetes and other underlying health issues.

I've lived with my mother all my life and since her stroke she has become very reliant on my help with every day tasks and I assist with all her caring needs including preparing food, cleaning and helping her wash herself. It can be very tiring and challenging at times.

Since her stroke, mum struggles with every day things like cutting up her food so I have to make sure I put her needs first. She used to be a brilliant cook - I'm learning slowly! After her operation, Stockport Stroke Association and the physio team at Stepping Hill have assisted with her recovery but mum still needs my assistance every day.

I take mum to all her medical appointments and keep track of all her medications using a dispenser. I feel like I'm forever ordering tablets!

Most days mum prefers to spend time in her bedroom and I need to make sure my home is clutter free to make sure she's relaxed and doesn't have any falls as her condition means her mobility is restricted and she's prone to having accidents. This all means I try my best to juggle my work and caring role accordingly.

Working and caring

I work five days a week for a busy online travel company selling holidays abroad but since March 2020 I've been working from home due to the pandemic. Since the pandemic began I've also used the government's furlough scheme, which meant I've been able to spend more time looking after mum. I then went back to working as people began cancelling and rebooking their holidays!

Since mum suffered her stroke, my management team have been excellent. They're understanding if I need to go and assist my mum and I can also attend any hospital appointments required.

I think if I was in the office it would be an absolute nightmare looking after mum. In the long-term I hope I can stay working from home. I'd miss the office banter but we do have an office Zoom call every day before shifts start and we use the chat channel to keep in touch during the day.

Sometimes I feel like I'm running around all day. Working from home and helping mum all day means that sometimes I neglect myself. Today I didn't have breakfast, and then by 2.30pm realised I hadn't eaten anything. There are times when I do get stressed. Keeping the house tidy can get a bit too much so I try and take five minutes out and have a cuppa to relax. After work, there isn't much time to do anything for me. Some days are definitely more hectic and worse than others.

Support from Signpost and looking forward

I was recently advised to contact Signpost with regards to extra support and to have a Carer's Assessment. Needless to say I think the staff and support given by Signpost has been excellent and it's been nice to know there's someone there to support me and give helpful advice. It's reassuring to know that if times get hard they'll be there for support and it's also great to know you can talk to fellow carers and hear their stories too.

It's important for me to make sure mum's health and welfare is the best it can be. I'm definitely feeling more positive coming out of lockdown. I'm lucky to have a supportive family and after lockdown my siblings will be able to come round more, help out and give me a break. Moving forward I will hopefully get some normality back. My mum has always been there for me, now it's my time to be there for her.

For support combining work and care, visit our Work With Us pages.

For more information about stroke recovery, visit the Stroke Association website.