Jason is one of several unpaid carers in East Sussex to take part in our inter-generational Carers’ Words, Carers’ Lives heritage project. Jason took part in a short film in which he tells his story and talks about an object that has special meaning to him.
“My name’s Jason. I cared for my elderly father Peter who had a range of health conditions.”
How has being a carer changed your own life?
When you’re caring for someone then their needs come first. Your social life ceases, you have to be aware of time management. There are not enough hours in the day.A lot of time is spent on mundane, normal things, they’re not difficult, but it’s an accumulation of things – to pay bills, to get shopping, to cook food, to wash windows. For the first 18 months I was guilty of thinking, ‘I can manage, I can do everything; I’m fine.’ But it starts to wear on you.
What has been useful about Care for the Carers?
It’s somebody to talk to about things, and Care for the Carers has been a big help. One thing I suppose is more with single people, it’s actually nice, perhaps reassuring, when you get a pat on the back, somebody saying ‘You’re doing okay, you’re doing a good job here.’ And practical things – Care for the Carers referred me on for help with things like going on courses or employment.
What advice would you give to other carers?
It’s about having contingency plans, for when things do get on top. You end up neglecting yourself a bit, and that’s not beneficial for the person you’re caring for. If respite’s available, that’s worth looking in to.It’s important to get any help that’s offered,be aware of what’ s available andand to access what help’s out there as soon as possible.
What is a precious object in your life that means a lot to you?
I come back to family. I come from a good family, loyalty’s strong, they’re all good people. My dad looked after me when I was a kid. When we first moved in here, there was a basket hanging from the tree in the garden so dad used to go and put bread out. That was one of his regular things he liked to do.We’d cut it all up small for the birds and we’d put it in the basket. I find it therapeutic, going out and feeding the birds and watching everything come and feeding away.
“Some people are alone and there isn’t anybody there to help them.”