A male carer aged 23, shares his views on what it is like caring for his mother with early onset dementia:
When did you first realise that you were a carer?
Only when individuals around me used the word “carer” regularly did I recognise myself as one, this wasn't until a few years after my mother's diagnosis. Even to this day, I just see myself as a son helping his mother.
How has being a carer impacted on your life?
Helping a loved one to receive the best quality of life is emotionally rewarding. Knowing that you are actively helping in keeping your loved one happy, safe and at home is a reward worth more than money. It grounds you, forces you to mature at a quicker rate and take heavier responsibilities. It's hard at first, but once you get the ball rolling, it builds character and decision making, crucial traits to have in the future.
What does an average day look like?
Cooking, cleaning, washing, schedules, routines, physically helping my mother throughout the day, alarms to prompt medication and appointments set in advance. Ensuring that nothing is overlooked to limit any bumps in the road.
What advice would you give to another young person in a similar situation?
Know your limits, you may not think that you have any, but we all do. Asking for help doesn't mean defeat, it means that you still want to be a caregiver and you're not willing to give up yet. Be it physically, emotionally, or financially, there is help for anyone who asks.
Is there anything that you would like to see professionals doing to support Young Adult Carers?
What needs to be done is to improve funding from the government to the professionals helping young adult carers, to reach everyone out there who needs help or information and does not know where to look or what steps to take. The subject isn't being talked about enough and it needs to be brought into the light.