Six years of family caregiving taught me a lot, not least the power of good people working together as a team. This diagram shows a person living in their own home, supported by a family member/advocate, then supported by a whole community of people doing all the jobs needed to keep someone well in their own home.
This diagram mirrors my own experience, the strange thing is that not all the team(s) knew each other. They never got together as one whole group and they didn’t know all the other teams that existed. They definitely didn’t all exchange information and they may or may not have had the right information at any point. But whenever they met me/or called me on the phone they could connect to the team, check what the latest information/status was and support accordingly – they were my Dad’s care team.
This was my challenge for six years – being the person that enabled carer/service teams to get the right information at the right time; being the person that bridged all the different people in the team so that insights could be shared and the right care could be delivered and planned for at each intervention/meeting/exchange point in the six year journey.
So what am I thinking about this #carersweek 18 months after my carer role finished? I’m thinking the job was too much… but that I would do the same again if the need arose for someone I loved – that’s just what you do isn’t it?
I knew what I needed as a working family carer but existing services didn’t seem to link up. I needed to know someone who knew the care field and if there was anything/anyone/any service to help. Thankfully for me the third sector were there to help support. I cannot thank Carers Leeds and the Alzheimers Society enough, I don’t know what I would have done without them.
I’m really thankful that #carersweek exists and we can all just stop for a minute and maybe consider… what is a carer? …what’s it really like being a carer? …will I ever be a carer? For me care is a precious thing both to receive and maybe even more so to give – I learned so much thanks in part to those who joined me on my carer journey.
I’d just like to say to all our team again… Thank you!