“When you’ve gone that low, there’s nowhere else to go, so I need to know there’s someone who I can reach out to.”
Clair was struggling. A mum-of-three, the years spent looking after her autistic daughter had taken their toll on her and her husband. She could no longer remain in her job of 25 years and had been made redundant. She had made appointments with Trafford Carers Centre but hadn’t gone through with them because she couldn’t face them. She was at her lowest point.
“I was going through the motions to get the children to school,” said Clair, 51. “When I walked to school, I would hold a mobile phone to my face so I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone. I didn’t think about crossing the roads – I just left it to chance.
“When I got home, I would sit on a sofa under a duvet. There was no food in the cupboards.”
Help arrived when her daughter’s primary school called and asked if she was OK. She asked if she could be taken to another appointment with Trafford Carers Centre and a member of staff drove her there. At the centre, in School Road, Sale, a nurse gave Clair a health assessment and Clair broke down. The centre arranged for her cupboards to be stocked with food so her children could eat. Clair was also referred to her GP for physical and mental health problems.
“I’m not sure where I would be without the carers centre,” said Clair, who is now happy in a more flexible working role. “A lot of support was put in place to help me.”
As well as helping Clair, the centre also supported her two younger daughters, recognising them as Young Carers to their older sister, and helping them access support.
For Clair, recognition that she was a carer, not just a parent, was vital.
“Sometimes, you think you aren’t a good parent or you look at other parents and think they are doing a great job. But the caring really is relentless. There is still that battle that has to be had but I know where the support is.”
An updated Carers Strategy by Trafford Council aims to make sure people like Clair get the right support to help them as carers.
Launched on Carers Rights Day on 24 November, the strategy’s vision states that: “Carers of all ages have the right to be recognised, supported, respected and valued and will be offered appropriate support wherever possible to enable them to continue their caring role and maintain their own health and wellbeing.”
Diane Eaton, Corporate Director of Adult Services at the Council, said: “It is a priority that we reduce health inequalities in our borough. This strategy is all about protecting carers health.
“It can be so easy to feel alone with no-one to turn to when you are a carer. Please know that this isn’t the case – we can help you and support your needs so you can continue caring for your loved ones.”
To know more about the support available to carers in Trafford, please contact Trafford Carers Centre on 0161 848 2400 or visit www.traffordcarerscentre.org.uk.
Posted on Tuesday 29th November 2022