Mercury care campaign: what is it really like to be an unpaid carer?

Could you care campaign.

Could you care campaign. - Credit: Archant

Few people, who have not faced the situation themselves, will fully understand the difficulties and challenges unpaid carers face on a daily basis.

Julie Williams, from Weston, is not just a carer – she is a multi-carer. This means she looks after three family members, and until recently it was four.

Julie has had to make a tough decision over the past few weeks, which was to put her elderly mother in a care home.

But she told the Mercury – as part of our campaign expooring issues within the district’s care industry – she had to do this for the sake of her husband, sister and daughter who she also cares for full time.

Her husband had a car accident back in 2002 and now has limited vision in his left eye and little use of his left side, while her daughter has a brain condition and her sister has learning difficulties. Up until 2008, Julie was also working but had to give it up to devote her time to the family.

She said: “I think care is something that not a lot of people know about – and certainly not multi-caring like I do.

“I sometimes think people think it is one big holiday, but it is a full-time job which I am not earning a wage for.

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“Sometimes it is really hard and I know that, so I wanted to share my story and get people to support carers.

“People do not realise there are a lot of young carers out there and that is a message I want to get out.”

Julie, aged 54, also said she wanted to show people caring for someone can come in many different forms – not just physical disabilities.

She said: “Caring is not just about looking after someone in a wheelchair, or with a disability you can see.

“Looking after someone with learning difficulties is also really tough and those people need the support of a carer they trust.

“One of the hardest things for a carer is when your life changes. My husband was healthy until his accident and we only discovered my daughter’s brain condition when she was a teenager.

“It can be really hard to adjust and decisions became a lot harder when it was my family.

“I made the decision about my mum, because it was starting to impact the others and they weren’t telling me what they needed. It was tough but I had to do it as it was for the best.”