So on Thursday night (29/08/2013) I took part in the #DiverseAlz chat on twitter. The topic was young carers. I really enjoyed the chat and promised that after it I’d write a blog post about what it’s like being a ‘young’ carer and my general thoughts on the subject.
In true Charlotte style I’m a few days late with this post but here it is!
So I’m classed as a young carer but I don’t necessarily think I am. I was 20 when Grandad was diagnosed and I’m 22 now. To me a young carer would be somebody who is no older than a teenager? That’s personal opinion though I guess.
It was hard for me when grandad was diagnosed he’d been like a father to me my entire life so the thought of anything bad happening to him terrified me.
I think I handled it all pretty well though, I did my research and found out everything I possibly could about Alzheimer’s and then just sort of took each day and its challenges as they came. Some days were really easy, some were really hard but we managed. We still manage.
I think my fight or flight instincts just kick in when I’m around grandad it’s like he needs me, I have to be there I have to care, I have to look after him.
Personally my life took a big hit, I constantly had to cancel plans and was always too busy with my grandparents to go out and be young. I don’t regret that though, I cherish the time I’ve had giving back to my grandparents and the things it’s taught me and the memories I’ve made.
When I had my interview for my current job they asked if I could handle challenges so I told them that I’ve been an Alzheimer’s carer for the last two years, I can handle anything you throw at me. (I would’ve liked to have pointed out that my ducking skills have increased tenfold since being a carer but I didn’t think he’d get the joke..)
I feel like caring has taught me so many valuable life lessons, the importance of family, how much growing old sucks and how important it is to make the most of now because who knows if you’ll still remember it in 50 years.
I often get praised for being a young carer, I don’t get why. Surely you’d all do the same?
I dislike the way sometimes people discredit the advice I offer them about Alzheimer’s because I’m young, and apparently being young means you know nothing. Any advice I ever give is based on personal experiences, what better way to learn than that?
I don’t think young carers should be singled out and marked as ‘young’ carers, we all care, we all make mistakes, we all need advice, just because you’re old doesn’t automatically make you a brilliant carer just like being young doesn’t make you a bad one. It’s all about experience.
That’s the thing I love about Twitter, carers stick together and support one another. Its honestly been a blessing to me to have so many carers on my twitter to talk to because nobody else really understands what I’m talking about or knows how to help me.
Chats like #DiverseAlz and #AlzChat are really useful ways to meet helpful people.
I don’t feel like I’ve really talked about my ‘experiences’ in this post really I’ve just rambled and voiced a few opinions, but if you do have any questions or wish to discuss this more with me you can always comment below, tweet me @MissCharlotteEm or email me charlotte-Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading!
Check out fellow young carer Kirsty’s post about being a young carer by clicking here well worth a read!
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