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'Grief And Confusion Clashed With Unconditional Love And Joy': The Hidden Lives Of Young Carers

Friday 12 June 2020


From UK newspaper The Independent:


Young carers hero
The last census puts the number of young carers
(children under 18) in the UK at nearly 166,000,
but recent research suggests that the figure
may be as many as 800,000 in England alone.

‘Grief and confusion clashed with unconditional love and joy’: The hidden lives of young carers

Normal parts of being a teenager, like wanting to fit in and spending time with friends, don’t go away when you care for someone – but they are replaced by something much more meaningful, says Ellie Fry

9 June 2020
Copyright © 2020 The Independent.

According to the last census, there are 166,000 young carers in England, but recent research suggests that the actual figure may be as many as 800,000 – that’s six young carers in every secondary school classroom. Despite being so prolific, carers are often hidden from view – attempting to juggle their caring role with school work but too terrified to speak up and seek support, suffering mental health complications as a result. Carers Week 2020 runs from 8-14 June and aims to raise awareness of the everyday challenges facing young carers.

Like many young carers, I can’t tell you the exact moment my mum got sick. Nor can I pinpoint the moment I started helping her and my family get through day-to-day life. But there was a moment, 10 years ago, when my mother went from healthy to bed bound. She spent weeks unable to move, struggling to even sip water or to stomach a slice of toast. That was when everything changed.

We now know that my mum has myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), a chronic disease that impacts the body’s nervous and immune systems. Previously known as chronic fatigue syndrome, it is at least as disabling as multiple sclerosis and congestive heart failure – but there is currently no cure and reaching diagnosis is a battle. My mum can’t walk further than half a mile without crashing for days afterwards. On her best days, she is mostly housebound; even going for a walk is a distant dream. She spends her worst in bed, unable to stand any noise or light. ME can also impact her cognitive capabilities: her words can often become mixed up and slurred.


Full article…



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