Molly shares her experiences of caring during the Covid pandemic looking after her elderly frail mother and working full time…
When my Mum first moved in with me it took months for her to settle in. We worked though this tough time and I helped her to get into a new routine attending different day centres and lunch clubs. I made sure she had something to do every day of the week and at the weekends we would go out together and do the shopping etc.
When we went into lockdown Mum found this very upsetting for as she didn’t really understand why she had to stay home. I am lucky to be able to work from home, however my job quickly became very busy and stressful as, as a key worker I was redeployed to help with Covid 19 activity.
I saw my Mums mental health deteriorate very quickly but with patience and persistence she has adapted to a new routine. For me this has meant changing my routines completely to ensure she has meals at her regular time and so we can go for a walk the same time every day - except for rainy days!
Finding little jobs for her has helped her feel needed and have a purpose. We have both rekindled our love for jigsaw puzzles and we spend time together doing them. We both recognise we each need our own space as well as time together and our routine allows for that.
I can’t say this has been easy for me or for Mum in any way, but I am very thankful that she lives with me as it would have been incredibly stressful if she was still at home on her own. The main thing I have found that help is keeping our routine consistent this allows me to work around her needs and keeps her happy and settled. My employer has been very understanding about my caring role and allowed flexibility in my working hours which has been amazing, I couldn’t have managed without that.
I think the biggest lesson for me has been the need to accept this unique situation, we have never experienced anything like this in our lifetime and its new for everyone. I am part of a couple of peer support groups it is great to connect with other carers and here others talk about things I thought only happened to me. To know that I am not alone is very comforting.
Although it brings its challenges it is a massive relief to know I am on hand to care for Mum and I don’t have to panic if she doesn’t pick up the phone or worry that she’ll be scared and confused on her own. I remind myself every day of how blessed I am to be able to have mum living with me.
(Molly chose to share her experiences but not her identity, the photo used is of a model)