As lockdown eases, and a 'new normal' emerges for some, many of us are increasingly concerned about our loved ones coming into contact with Covid-19. Our monthly priorities poll is our snap shot of what is important to carers at the moment.
Protecting the people we care for from coronavirus is now a higher priority than ever. Our own stress and anxiety are still significant but our focus is very much on the people we are caring for.
Why is the virus even more of a priority for us?
We now have a clearer understanding of the impact of Covid-19 many of us know people who have died or who are struggling with symptoms of Long Covid.
"I believe a second wave is coming. The government has not been clear enough and have opened things up too quickly. So many not following the guidelines that are in place because they think it doesn't effect them"
"Because the virus has not gone away, we still know very little about it. It is still highly contagious and lethal to the vulnerable"
Other people's behaviour is having a big impact on how we are feeling
"Friends are relaxing a bit too much and I'm feeling uncomfortable"
"Because I am still worried that the general public are becoming complacent about it and not being careful"
Many people shared the particularly difficult situations, coping alone and often worried about more than one person.
Feeling left behind
Throughout Coronavirus carers have had to translate government guidelines into something relevant for them. For many, this meant staying shielded or making a slower return to normal activities. It felt like the rest of the world are relaxing and enjoying themselves whilst we have been left behind.
"There are so many decisions to make personally about re integration At this time when protecting a vulnerable, person. Nothing is clear!"
"Feeling excluded from the eat out to dine out scheme as protecting the cared for."
"Too scared still to go back to a near normal life. Won’t go anywhere indoors yet."
Stress is building up
"Many carers have been coping alone with even less help than normal. It is starting to take its toll"
"My loved one has to be protected as quite vulnerable. He cannot make his own decisions so I have to make all decisions which will protect him. This part of caring is quite stressful"
"Felt very stressed recently"
"I have found the virus situation and being cooped up with hubby all the time extremely stressful and honestly I don't know how I coped without my usual getting away for a couple of hours"
Is there any good news?
Let's not pretend that any of this is easy. Amongst all this we do need to look for the uplift and you might feel it is a bit hidden.
We care for others and are concerned for them - that's a good human response and this drives us to protect people from the virus as much as we can. We are saving lives!
When you feel alone and isolated it is important to know there are others out there, like you, who care and have similar concerns to you. When you share your honest thoughts others nod along and say "yep that's me too".
We are a resilient bunch and through community and care for ourselves we can often manage stress and anxiety (we are probably learning new ways to do this).
This extreme situation is pushing us to stop and think about what we really want, what is sustainable and what we need to change. Is it time to create your own 'New Normal'?