Harrogate woman urges people to support family carers as coronavirus takes its toll
A Harrogate woman who cares for her autistic son is urging people to show their support for unpaid carers.
It comes during National Carers’ Week, which aims to highlight all the hard work of those who care for family members.
Hazel Griffiths is a carer for her autistic son - an experience which she says is incredbily rewarding, but can also be a challenge, particularly as many people don’t realise how hard she works.
She said: “Caring has so many positives but carers often put their own needs last and can be really hard on themselves and don’t always look after their own wellbeing.
“Caring is an ultimate act of kindness, and I ask if others can remember this and see carers as partners and experts, make sure they are supported and valued.”
She is now calling for people to be more compassionate and understanding towards those who are dedicating their lives to caring for others - particularly during the coronavirus crisis.
Hazel, who is also a campaigner for carers rights says that during the Covid-19 outbreak many people have taken on more caring responsibilities for their relatives and friends who are disabled, ill or older and who need support.
She added: “I would like the general public to be understanding around the extra pressures due to covid, on family carers who are trying their best to help their loved one follow the rules and that an autistic person has a right to take up their outdoor exercise like everyone else, please be patient and understanding.
“They may be extra tired, anxious, frustrated, upset, frightened, worried, extra sensory overloaded and overwhelmed due to the increased uncertainty and forever changing situation due to covid and seek reassurance.
“I will be honest, I do what most carers do, focus on ensuring our loved ones are receiving safe, quality care to live a healthier, happier meaningful life.”
Carers’ Week aims to recognise home carers for the difficulties they are experiencing, respected for all they are doing, and provided with information, support and understanding.
The annual activities for Carers' Week are usually run by various voluntary and community organisations across the county but have had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus lockdown.
However a range of activities are now taking place virtually on the Carers’ Resource website.
Hazel, pictured, added: “Carers’ Week is so important and an opportunity to raise awareness about what family carers do for their loved ones. It also makes carers aware of their rights, where to get help and support, and promote the need for carer friendly communities and services.
“If we look after our carers we can continue to support our loved ones. Family carers bring a lot to the table, we know our loved ones really well. Carers want to sit beside you, care beside you and work beside you .
“My hope is that Carers’ Week throws a spotlight on the incredible work being done by family carers day in and day out and to ensure all carers, young or old carers, get the information and support they need to help them help others.”
For more information, advice and support, visit www.carersresource.org
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