In this story: Carer / COVID-19 /

"It’s a time for real change! The new normal has to address unpaid Carers’ vital role for now and the future."

Issues of anxiety and stress have been exacerbated in lockdown. Paul, my son whom I care for, had a medical emergency early in the lockdown which was very scary. Initially, the doctor wanted Paul admitted to hospital in case the infection spread through his system. My eldest son was aghast. He said “Mum there is no way you and Paul can go into hospital, as you are both so medically vulnerable, there is a strong risk one or the two of you won’t come out!” It was a very worrying time. In addition to this, I have witnessed a regression in Paul’s behaviour which is heart breaking. His brain disease is neurodegenerative, and we do not know how long we will have him.

It’s all about round the clock care, increased exponentially with this lockdown. Services are closed and there is no respite. That means the burden of care I felt, which was already at the sharp end before, has become a knife edge. Loneliness is a huge factor. In some ways this lockdown gives people just a small insight as to what it’s like for Carers’ – a loss of freedom, job insecurity, financial worries, fear for the future, health both mentally and physically impacted and shock that our dreams for our future have disappeared.

I hope the Government will now look at the unequivocal evidence as to just how much unpaid Carers’ hold together the threads of society’s holes in social care. A change in world view has occurred, a ‘paradigm shift.’ It’s a time for real change! The new normal has to address unpaid Carers’ vital role for now and the future. We can no longer be invisible. We want action!

Our NHS has been invaluable throughout this pandemic, as well as so called ‘unskilled’ frontline workers who have kept society running. I call for an ‘NCS’, a National Care Service, equivalent to our wonderful NHS, where at a national, governmental level, unpaid Carers’ become visible and valued as well as our disabled loved ones. Carers’ and their cared for have to be seen and viewed holistically. Let Scotland lead the way!

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