Many people don’t see themselves as carers.
They are just children, parents, partners, relatives or friends who care for someone close to them.
Hannah* has been caring for her mother, Sandra* for most of her life.
Sandra was born deaf in one ear and has had significant health complications throughout her life, which have required many surgeries.
Now 16, Hannah took on a carer’s role at a young age.
“I’ve always had trouble hearing, so Hannah helps me to communicate when I’m having trouble hearing someone,” says Sandra.
“She helps with the cooking and washing.
“I’m so grateful for everything she does. I’ve always tried to just get on with life as best I can, but I do need help. And Hannah is always there for me.”
Sandra’s two older sons also help when they can.
The family have received practical support from Carer Gateway, including financial help for Hannah’s schooling.
The have also received emotional support, in the form of a listening ear when times get tough.
“The Carer Gateway team are so helpful,” says Sandra.
“It’s not just the financial assistance that has helped, but the emotional support too.
“They regularly check-in to see how we’re doing. It’s lovely to talk to someone who understands exactly what we’re going through.
“We received financial support for Hannah’s laptop and school uniform.
“It means we don’t have to stress at the start of each year about where the money is going to come from for the necessities.”
Hannah, who is working towards a career as an English teacher, says the support from Carer Gateway has been invaluable in helping her juggle her carer’s role, school and work commitments.
She has attended a carers retreat, completed online courses on how to manage her wellbeing and participated in activities to help stay connected to her peers and community.
“It has been nice to connect with others who are in a similar situation,” says Hannah.
“A lot of people don’t know they are carers. It’s just what they do.
“It’s what I’ve grown up with and it’s something that comes naturally to me.
“Even if you are helping other people, you have to take care of yourself.
“That’s what I’ve had to learn over the years.
“You can’t help someone if your cup is empty.
“I’m really grateful to Carer Gateway and other organisations who have helped me connect with other carers and access support and resources when needed.”
To find out more about Carer Gateway, visit Carer Gateway.
*This is a true story about real people. Some details such as names have been changed to respect the wishes of the people featured. The photo accompanying this story is for illustrative purposes only. It is not a photo of the people featured in this story.