Surviving 2020, Happy New Year

Burning 2020 sign

It’s been one hell of a year feeling like we were stuck in a zombie movie spending all of our time hiding behind closed doors so that the virus didn’t get us!  

2020 is over! I bid it farewell, thankful this year is done and launching myself into 2021 with hope & eagerness for a better a year. 

2020 has been the most challenging year for so many as we’ve been left alone.  It’s been so tough for caregivers, families with dementia and organisations that support us.  Our outlets and support networks have been closed down or removed from us without anything being put in place to ensure our loved ones’ well-being. 

We dealt with 12 months of change, chaos, confusion, constant worry, stress and challenges to survive.  It’s also been a year of adapting, learning new technologies, personal growth and finding new support networks. 

But yet again, deja vu, disappointment seeing the government forget about family caregivers. 

They failed to put in place policies or practices whether financial or support that could have helped us navigate this year better, rather than feel that we were banging our head against a brick wall shouting for help.  We’ve been left truly alone.

We were left to deal with the constant worry or stress of what happens if we fall ill who will look after my loved one?  Even today, there isn’t a plan for sole caregivers. It’s just we’ll deal with it as it happens.

This year it’s been so much harder for caregivers due to the pandemic causing issues with getting food deliveries, left with no personal care or respite,  rising costs of food, lack of PPE and expenses of personal care products as demand outstripped supply.  

But despite all that, I’m thankful we have survived this year.  

I’m thankful for the friends and family who rallied around at personal risk to themselves to help us get essential food items, electricity top-ups, and helped mum in her times of need.

I’m thankful to organisations that lent an ear to our woes, checked up on us or supported us when we needed PPE special mention goes to Admiral Nurses, Age Cymru and Social Services.

I’m thankful to our GP who came out to our home to help mum and the district nurses who came to take INR bloods and to our local pharmacy who delivered our monthly medication.

I’m thankful to my social media friends who shared their stories, who’ve campaigned for carer’s voices and who personally supported me with tips, advice, comfort and support.

I’m thankful for all those caregiver, dementia and activity support groups who moved quickly to virtual formats and provided opportunities for engagement like Carers for Cuppa, Musical singalong groups, group exercise classes etc. 

All helped us maintain some kind of connection, and we’re grateful that the online community has rallied to support us.

I’m thankful to all the doctors, nurses, ambulance staff, auxiliary support workers, care workers who cared for our sick or relatives struggling without adequate support and equipment themselves.

Looking back and reflecting on this last year, it has taught me one thing.  It’s to really appreciate what we do have control of in our lives and focus on those blessings -our faith, family and friends.  

They are what helped me survive this year, they’ve been here when I needed them, and let’s be honest, despite family friction, there is one person who has shouldered the burden of being everyone’s rock, and that’s is my eldest brother. 

I couldn’t have survived this year without him, and he has been my constant rock always there.  He’s my nightly phone call to my mum to calm her & reassure her home was safe.  He’s there with outdoor visits to make sure we have everything we need while juggling work and his own family. He was my hero.  I’m sure that every family when looking back can identify their own hero/es as well.

It hasn’t been an easy path, so many families have experienced pain and loss.  Every day I woke with the news of so many deaths, family separation from their loved ones stuck in care homes, and sadly people flouting the rules making things worse.

My heart goes out to so many friends and families who have experienced suffering and pain from losing a loved one.

I’m heading into 2021, with hope in my heart that things will slowly change, that families can see there loved ones again, that caregivers and those shielding are heard.

Our strength, our backbone comes from you, our community , our family & friends that help us face the challenges ahead.

I wish you all a Happy New Year!

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