Who looks after the carer?
J comes from a close knit family. She cared for her mother in her last illness and was hit hard when her mother died. She is now caring for her older sister, who is also ill, while still struggling to process her grief at her mother’s death.
J suffers from a number of chronic health conditions, including arthritis throughout her body, high blood pressure and problems of the digestive tract. Her arthritis causes her constant pain. She is on strong medication with serious side effects, and worries about the effects of the long-term use of these medicines, particularly steroids. She feels they have contributed to her constant and very distressing IBS-type symptoms. As well as this, J suffers from anxiety and concerns around her health and medication exacerbate this significantly.
She has found it challenging to balance her caring responsibilities with looking after her own health and wellbeing, and felt this will only get worse over time. When she first joined our Good Moves project she said she felt isolated and overwhelmed, and lacked optimism in and confidence about how she will cope in the future. As she progressed through the course, J became increasingly confident in actively managing her own healthcare. She benefitted most strongly from the peer support element of Good Moves which provided her with a safe and supportive environment to speak about her conditions and how she struggles to manage.
“I’ve really enjoyed coming to these workshops, having a chance to learn more and get support and ideas from the group. I wish the workshops could continue. I’ve learned about exercises and diet, good hydration and feel more able to make decisions or ask for help or information to manage my conditions. I will continue to use what I’ve learned here. It has helped me. I thought before that I was just stuck and things would only get worse from here. I’m also going to look at getting involved in more volunteering. I already do some through my church visiting older people, but I’d like to do more. I’m going to look at the volunteering with the local hospice and good neighbour schemes. I’m going to see if I can get bereavement counselling. I still feel the loss of my mother. I looked after her till she died and we were very close and I still miss her very much. I will miss having this weekly group to come to. I want to come back when the next level of this course is put on.”