The Empowered Connectors programme invites Carers who have been on the Empowered Conversations journey – whether that’s attending our Communication Courses or receiving one-to-one support – to share their experiences to help others who are facing similar situations.
Meet Empowered Connector Justine Ward-Mallinson, from Clifton, who cared for her mum for seven years at home and then for the last four while she was in a nursing home.
“When Mum lived with me, I helped practically with all aspects of daily life. In the early stages, Mum had more capacity and could walk around and use the bathroom independently. As her needs progressed, I assisted with washing, dressing, cooking. I’m self-employed so Mum used to come to work with me, we went shopping, and just generally spent every day together.
Due to a short stay in respite, Mum had to go into hospital where she received very poor care, which took away her mobility and continence. It became impossible to manage her needs at home, hence the traumatic decision to consider a care home. Since Mum has been in the home, I still provide certain aspects of her care. I wash and style her hair and take care of her nails and feet. I also feed her, as Mum’s competence is now deeply affected.
It is soul-destroying, watching someone you love slowly slipping away before your eyes; their personality changes, speech is affected, day-to-day easy tasks frustrate them. It is emotionally as well as physically draining. It is not just the care side, it is the financial implications, the bureaucracy and negligence of many services allegedly in place to help that add to the stress and impact a caring role can have.
But the support from Empowered Carers has been amazing. I have learned so much more since being a member of this group. It is a great source of support and empathy, and the advice has been invaluable.”
Justine’s advice to other Carers is:
- Self care is essential.
- Take care of financial matters.
- Don’t ever take ‘no’ as an answer. Fight tooth and nail for the respect and help that your loved one deserves.