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Caring and Sharing Blog
Grant is 25 years old and cares for his mother. He shares his experience of caring whilst at school.
"If I can say one thing, it is that it doesn’t take much to change a carers’ life.
I care for my mam, she has a lot of mobility issues, I have cared for her for most of my life but it became more intense when I was 11 years old, that is when her health took a turn for the worse.
There was one morning that instead of going to school I went to the hospital with my mam. That hospital stay was a turning point – for my mam and for me.
When she came home I realised she needed more help, at first I was confused, but she is my mam, I loved her and wanted to help. Before I would just help around the house but now I was caring for her on a more personal level, helping her get around, up the stairs, reminding her to take her medication and so on.
I remember being scared.
Everyone else I knew went to school as normal and afterwards went home to be a kid but when I went home I was caring.
If I wanted to spend time with friends they would come to my house so that I could see them and still care for my mam, it was easier that way, it was my normal, I didn’t try to hide caring, it was what I was used to, I was proud of it.
While I was at school I was always distracted in class, sometimes I couldn’t do homework on time, when my mam’s conditions flared up I couldn’t just leave her and do homework, she needed me. Every parents evening my mam would go around telling all of my teachers that I was looking after her, that it wasn’t my fault I couldn’t do homework every night on time (not that I failed to hand homework in regularly, only now and again) or that I couldn’t concentrate in class, I was worried about my mam and how she was coping at home on her own.
I struggled on, watching the 'naughty kids' act up and get attention; although I didn’t hide my caring role I was quiet in class, I didn’t act up, I was respectful, tried my best and repeatedly asked for help, I didn’t get any.
I didn’t join in, I was struggling to engage in school life, like most I was bullied for being different.
Because of everything I dropped out of school at the end of year 9 and changed to home schooling. With my mam getting worse, the bullying getting on top of me, it was easier to just stay at home.
All of this meant I didn’t get to sit my GCSE’s.
I didn’t want anything special, just a bit of support to make sure that I had the same opportunities as other people my age. The school even had head of years whose job it was to do that, but looking back I feel that I was failed by school, I was just a child and they didn’t offer me any help as a carer or tell me about the help that is out there for people in my situation.
It made me really withdraw from everyone/everything, started my anxiety off and made it really bad. I was still caring for my mam but at the same time she was looking after me, sitting with me all day, forcing me to do things she knew I enjoyed so I wasn't just sitting there thinking about everything. I know if it wasn't for her I wouldn't be here right now, school ruined and almost ended my life but my mam saved me, by being there and taking me out of school.
I started by saying that it doesn’t take much to change a carer’s life. It really doesn’t. I challenge everyone to make the small changes needed to support carers.