What about the residual effects of this period on the mental health of carers?
“I think carers have perhaps been neglected, because a lot of their support has been withdrawn with the restriction of services. So people might have had a full care package and 4 carers coming in a day, but their care organisation said, ‘Well, we can only manage 2, and we’ve got to try and maintain the same person, and therefore it can only be on 5 days.’ I think some people have found that the care has been withdrawn, or at least reduced, or they’re coming in and only doing some bits of the care but not doing others, because of not wanting to have bodily contact. It’s fallen on carers to pick up the pieces.
“I’d say that to anybody who’s depressed or anxious, ‘What do you do for yourself?’ The answer is often, ‘I don’t have time for myself,’ and I might say, ‘That’s part of the problem, isn’t it?’ It’s really important to make time for yourself, and that’s where it comes to writing this diary, that actually you can write down, and go, ‘Right, well, I’m going to make sure that somebody comes and sits with my husband who’s got dementia so that I can go out for a walk in the park on that Thursday afternoon, and I can look forward to that for a couple of days, and I’ll feel the benefit for a couple of days, and then on Sunday, I’m going to take my husband out in his wheelchair, whatever the weather, we’re going to do that, and we’re going to go and have a takeaway coffee.’ And I have very basic conversations with people. asking: ‘What, specifically, are you going to do? You need to write it down,’ because that forces people then, it commits it to, ‘That’s what I’m going to do on Thursday,’ and they can tick it off, and they hopefully will feel better that they’ve done it, they’ve achieved it.”