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Christine and the Parent Carers Support

Christine is a mother of 4, one daughter living independently, two daughters at home and her youngest son who had behavioural problems and was awaiting diagnosis.

Christine had some serious back problems which affected her mobility. Housing was also an issue, as the family had been targeted by locals as a result of her son’s behaviour. Her son was diagnosed as having ADHD and Learning Difficulties and his behaviour worsened. Her son ended up refusing to go to school. One of the daughters had an eating disorder, but was receiving help for this.

During this time Christine was working part time for South London and Maudsley, a casual lecturer at University and was in the middle of 5 years of personal study. She became overloaded and decided to leave her job. Despite this she had a relapse of a longstanding illness, Bi-Polar disorder, which had been controlled for many years and she was hospitalised. The children temporarily went into care.

On her discharge Christine was facing debt and other issues so needed a lot of support. She started attending the Parent Carers Coffee Mornings at Carers Lewisham, where she could share her experiences with other parents in a situation similar to hers. A referral was made for the two girls to the Young Carers project. Also a Carers Assessment was arranged and she registered for our occasional respite service. We also advocated with the Housing department regarding a possible move.

There were constant school issues with her son and we supported Christine at numerous education meetings. As there were so many professionals involved with the family Carers Lewisham requested a multi disciplinary meeting. Her son went back into education with intensive behavioural management, and with help Christine sorted many of her other problems. We got a grant to provide some new household goods needing replacement. The girls have been involved with Young Carers activities and are awaiting individual mentors. Other agencies helped Christine sort out her finances. Her caring responsibilities however are increasing, as she now cares for her mother who has mobility problems, so we helped her apply for Disability Benefits and services.

Christine is back to her bubbly self and has since graduated as a BSc Social Sciences. Life is still full of challenges but Christine is going on to start a Masters Degree in October. Well Done Christine!!

“The support from Carers Lewisham laid the foundations for my motivation to carry on and succeed against the everyday challenges of a Carer.”

Kelvin and the Dementia Support

Kelvin is caring for his 72 year old mother, who has been diagnosed with early stage dementia. This is devastating for his mother and him because she was very independent and now finds it difficult to perform certain tasks e.g dealing with correspondence, telephone conversations, retaining information. Kelvin’s mother is in denial about her problem, making the situation more difficult for both of them.

Last year, Kelvin came to the Dementia Session as he was highly distressed and finding it difficult to cope with the situation. According to Kelvin, he didn’t get any information from other professionals. e.g. regarding diagnosis, symptoms, how to manage difficult behaviour. In the Dementia Session, he gets advice and information from facilitators and shares his experience with others which he finds therapeutic. He never misses a session and he attends Coffee Mornings as well.

Kelvin is now a completely different person. He is very calm and open about his situation, willing to share his experience with other carers and has developed a deeper insight into dementia. Now he is supporting other carers in the group, attending meetings locally and nationally, and highlighting carer’s needs to other professionals. Recently, he finished a four week dementia training programme and found this very empowering. Kelvin feels that “Dementia is just an illness, but we have to consider the person as unique, it is very significant to the person’s personality and biography”.

Mohammed and the Occasional Respite Service

Mohammed cares for his wife who is physically disabled. He first heard about us through a friend who told him there was an organisation that could help him. When Mohammed first came to Carers Lewisham he felt trapped and a prisoner in his home. At that time he didn’t know there were organisations that could help him and that he was not alone.

Mohammed explains how difficult things were for him, as one day he had no salt in the home, and he could not leave his wife. He had to stand at his front door hoping that someone he knew would pass by so he could ask them to buy him some salt. Now that he is registered with the Occasional Respite Service, he feels that it has enabled him to continuing caring. It has allowed him to meet other carers and to take a break from caring.

“A special thank you to the Occasional Respite staff, and all at Carers Lewisham, for all your support and encouragement.”