There are a number of carers and former carers who work at CASS. Hilary, our Health & Wellbeing Assistant, has kindly shared her experience of being a carer and juggling her caring role with other roles and elements in her life.
Hi, my name is Hilary – you may have seen me out and about with CASS at the various CALLs and courses. I joined the Health and Wellbeing team here around two years ago, and to be honest it was only after I had worked for CASS for a short while, getting to know people who are registered carers and listening to their stories, that it dawned on me that I too am a carer!
Becoming a carer doesn’t always happen overnight – it often is a slow process and at first you hardly notice the small changes in someone’s dependency on you.
After we sadly lost my lovely dad to dementia, I persuaded my mum to come and live near to me so that we could keep an eye on her, for company more than anything. As mum’s health slowly deteriorated however I found that I was gradually doing more and more everyday tasks to enable her to remain mobile and part of the community.
I now visit everyday, cook for her several times a week, take her out on my days off and do most of her shopping. Like any daughter, I am more than happy to help my mum whenever I can, but at the same time there is only so much of me to go round. I am also a mum myself, as well as a gran, a wife and a sister – parcel that up with working at CASS, running a home and trying to fit in some of my hobbies and there are days when it can be a little overwhelming!
I am slowly learning to balance work and caring by accepting that (sadly!) I am not superwoman after all, and that it’s fine to have my own agenda sometimes without feeling too guilty! After all, if all this juggling were to make me ill, I wouldn’t be much use to my loved ones.
I like to recharge my batteries by reading, gardening and for those of you who do know me will have guessed it… Cooking! But I also hand over the reins now and again to my siblings, and try to get away for short breaks whenever possible.
Working for CASS has been a great experience – after all, everyone here fully understands the impact of caring, so the flexibility of my role suits me just fine. Having a mutual understanding of some of the problems encountered by carers can only be a good thing in my role at CASS. Keep up the good work all you carers – but don’t forget to take care of yourself first and foremost!