By Katie Skea – Communications Manager, Age UK Islington
What’s your caring situation?
John, 54, from Holloway: “My father was diagnosed 3 or 4 years ago with dementia. I was living away before, working as a general manager for a fashion designer, but I gave this up and moved back in with my parents so I could help take care of them.”
What are the challenges of being a carer, particularly under covid-19?
“It’s challenging at the best of times looking after someone with dementia. During this covid-19 time, it’s even more challenging. My Dad keeps putting his shoes on and going to the door fiddling with the locks. He’s very inquisitive all the time and is constantly wandering around the house. I can’t leave him by himself and I have to spend much more of the day supervising him. Although we try to keep him occupied, I think he is bored. It’s difficult as he has a very limited attention span.
Usually, we would make a trip to get the groceries into an outing. I’d take my Mum and Dad out to Holloway or Seven Sisters Road to get the shopping. My Mum would choose the food that she wants and we’d go for lunch or a coffee in a café. We’d have our routine and it’s nice for them to get out. I can’t do that now, because they are vulnerable to catching Covid-19 and it would put them at risk.
I’m having to go out early in the morning, before my parents get up, so that I can go to the supermarket. Some shops are accepting the letter which Islington Carers Hub provided me with to show that I’m a carer. Others are requiring the vulnerable person to be with me, which doesn’t make sense because that would put them at risk.”
What are the positives about caring?
“The financial side of being a carer is difficult, particularly at the moment. I would usually work as an extra/actor on sets, but at the moment I can’t do that. Having said that, it means that I have more time to spend with my parents. I like to make Chinese treats for them and cook nice things that I know they will enjoy.”