June’s story

Regular breaks are vital for me

June Cray lives near Canterbury and is a full-time Carer for her 30-year-old daughter Laurel who has Cerebral Palsy and autism.

“Over the years Laurel’s needs have changed but I’ve had to be her strong advocate throughout, it’s been a constant battle. Laurel’s mobility has worsened and she uses a wheelchair outside the house. I have to help her with all personal hygiene needs which has been difficult since I had shoulder surgery. She can’t make food or drinks for herself and because of her mental health and anxiety she needs routine and constant reassurance about everything. It’s not safe to leave her alone at home so I can’t just pop out.

Without doubt, the lockdowns have had a greater impact on Carers and I do feel we have been forgotten. Since Laurel finished college she had been going to day services and a couple of clubs. She also had six Personal Assistant hours. This meant she was kept occupied 4 days a week out of the house and gave me a break – until lockdown stopped everything. Now that things are gradually restarting again, she has become anxious and very dependent on me.

I didn’t choose to be a Carer and I do feel that my life has been put on hold. Small breaks every 2 months or so have been vital to help me cope. It’s important to build in time for yourself to recharge your batteries. Unfortunately, we don’t have any local family to help out but in the past, I’ve occasionally been able to leave Laurel with a relative for up to a week. We’ve had funding to cover some respite care but it doesn’t stretch far. Laurel doesn’t really want to go, but at least I know she is safe and being looked after.”

Read about our Time for Me Fund Appeal which aims to give Carers some time to themselves.