Tonight I went to a York Carers Centre event. It was at a local Lush store; we went in, had a poke around, had the chance to make a bubble bar and face mask, got to chat to employees and buy things if we wanted. We were even given a £5 gift voucher!
One of the best things was, it was a chance to chat to people and chill out a bit, and to have a break from our caring roles. (Side note: to those of you who would comment that since Mum died, I’m no longer a carer – the carers centre support people for up to a year after their dependent has died). We spent 90 minutes just chilling, chatting, not having to worry too much or be looking after someone else.
I met a number of people tonight, all absolutely lovely people full of laughter and life, all with a caring role. You wouldn’t know that any of these people was a carer just by looking at them, or probably even by talking to them as it doesn’t usually enter conversation until someone asks ‘so who are you caring for’.
Each person I met had a different story, a different level of care they were giving, a different level to which is affected their lives. I met mothers who had children with physical, mental, or neurological disorders. Others had a nan they were caring for with dementia or cancer. Some had a parent they were caring for. The event was for those aged 16+ and I’d guess the age of those attending ranged from 16-70ish. Some were caring for more than one person. Some were in work, others studied, some were unable to work or study.
I got chatting to one girl and we were both talking about how we’d forgotten so many social skills that those our age possess. We can communicate with people, we’re not completely incompetent, we’re just not used to sitting in a coffee shop and talking for an hour without worrying about something else, for example. In fact, often, we haven’t had the brain space to even entertain these situations.
This is why events and activities like this are so important; because others who’re there ‘get it’. They understand that we might not know the latest pop. culture. They get that we might be tired or need our phones on us. We can joke about various aspects of our lives. We talk the same language. We can say something and know the other will understand and not look at us as if we’re from mars or something.
Carers centres and the work they do are so important, and we need to keep supporting them. If you’re a carer, and you think your local carers centre could help you, check out the carers.org website and see if there’s a centre near by.