Toni’s story

“Attending online support sessions during Covid has kept me a bit more sane”

Toni is 56 and lives in Ashford. She works full time as an Accounts Clerk and also looks after her stepson Richard, who experienced irreparable brain damage following the removal of a second brain tumour.

“Richard had a career in the Air Force which he invalided out of after his first brain tumour was removed, but after his second one in 2018, his memory was severely affected. He was unable to look after himself and came to live with me. His father, my husband had passed away and Richard had never lived with me on my own before, so it’s been really hard. It’s been even harder during Covid where I’ve been working full time from home so there’s no break and he interrupts me frequently; but at least I don’t need to worry that he’s safe.

Although Richard has a care worker three times a day to help with personal care, I sort his medication and need to attend all appointments with him. It’s been very stressful being his Carer whilst also holding down a full-time job and I have my own physical health problems too which leave me chronically exhausted. He’s so forgetful that I worry about going out for long in case he leaves something cooking and falls asleep, so my social life had been curtailed even before Covid.

I only heard about Carers’ Support East Kent in early 2020 by chance from Richard’s neuropsychologist. They did a Carer’s Needs Assessment with me which was all about what I needed, and I received a mental wellbeing grant and I now have a regular cleaner paid for on a Kent Card. They also supported me in getting help when the hospital tried to discharge him home too early.

Attending their online social support sessions like Knit and Natter during Covid has definitely kept me a bit more sane.