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Lorraine's story caring for her mum

Lorraine cares for her mum Sylvia who is 86 and has a number of health issues including diabetes, hip problems, cataracts and early onset vascular dementia. Lorraine also suffers with health problems herself and is currently being treated for lung cancer.

Along with her siblings who share the care of Sylvia, Lorraine says life can be hard but recognising that she is a carer has been so supportive.

“I really wasn’t aware that I was a carer, I just thought I was looking after my mum but with the support of Carers First I now realise that as well as being a daughter, I’m a carer too and that has helped me massively.”

Caring for Sylvia involves helping her with her medication, showering and traveling with her to different medical appointments. Lorraine also provides company and emotional support to her mum, as her memory becomes more challenging. Sylvia is in a wheelchair for trips out of the house since a hip replacement. Lorraine said, “Mum is such a strong and independent person that accepting a wheelchair was really difficult for her, but she did it to help the family.” Sylvia is the oldest member of her community art club and is determined to keep going.

Lorraine suffers with health issues herself – she is waiting for a knee replacement, has type-2 diabetes and is recovering from lung cancer. She describes Carers First as a ‘Godsend’.

She has been able to access online groups to help her feel less isolated and the Carers First Hackney team have arranged for food vouchers to help when things were difficult. Lorraine has also taken part in art classes where she was sent some art materials during lockdown and has learnt mindfulness and breathing for when days are rough. The team were also able to provide Lorraine with a fitness watch to monitor her exercise and wellbeing.

“The support Carers First have given me has been amazing, I don’t feel alone anymore. I speak from the heart when I say that Carers First have helped me appreciate me, and that is so important as a carer. To be able to care for others we need to be ok too, and the team at Carers First have really helped me do that. I know that someone is at the end of the phone to help me and that makes me feel so supported.”

Lorraine volunteers for two different charities as a telephone befriender for Food Cycle and as a peer support for Mind has taken courses including a six-week carers course at City and Hackney College.

“Staying positive really is the key, I have bad days but I believe that what you think affects your whole body so keeping positive using various things like the box breathing and mindfulness I learnt online with Carers First has been so helpful to me.”

“Carers First has given me a doorway to support and help and I tell everyone about them. The stories of other carers on the Carers First website where so helpful for me to realise I wasn’t alone. If my story can help someone else that would be fantastic.”

“Carers First support is amazing.”

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