We all react to change differently. But as we come to terms with a new and unique set of circumstances and way of living and working, it’s easy to feel isolated. This feeling only increases for people with existing mental or physical disabilities or those who are required to live in self-isolation or be ‘shielded’ due to age or health conditions for much longer periods.
With the country slowly coming out of lockdown it might not be the case for anyone directly caring for a loved one who is still extremely vulnerable and will need to continue to remain isolated. So it’s more important than ever to look after yourself and your loved ones. Toni and Ben have been isolating together for over 12 weeks now and have taken a look at what they have gone through and want to offer some advice for those who may be finding this on-going situation a struggle.
Everything You Knew Has Changed
Many of the families we work with have loved ones who suffer from disabilities and suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). They rely upon support from rehabilitation therapists and carers to help them function. Things that most of us take for granted can only be done with a lot of support in place.
So what happens in a pandemic, when social distancing is enforced? The most obvious impact is that all of the treating therapists and support staff are unable to attend to provide the usual treatment and support. We are so lucky to have been able to furlough our carers on full pay, so are extremely grateful for this financial government support.
This has a huge impact on your loved one with a disability or brain injury who is still extremely vulnerable and high risk and needs day to day care, especially when in total isolation, possibly with only one member of the family or team able to self-isolate with them 24/7.
Lots of professional people are using video conferencing to keep their businesses going, however this doesn’t always work well for someone with a disability. We have been using a lot of face-timing to keep in touch with our staff, family and friends.
It’s really important to understand that everyone’s situation and response will be unique to them. Everyone has different ways of coping, so it’s important to be kind and patient, supportive and understanding, especially to those who may be struggling to understand what’s happening.
Toni and Ben’s top tips
Thousands of people across the UK are looking after loved ones, who need round the clock care during lockdown.
Ben needs 24/7 support and his Mum, Toni, who has been caring for him since the outbreak of the virus, thought that she and Ben would share their top tips which they hope will help others in a similar situation.
Ben has had severe disabilities since he was 9 which means he needs round the clock care from a specialist team of carers. He also has severe respiratory problems, which means it’s likely he wouldn’t survive COVID-19 if he contracted it.
Toni made the difficult decision to stop external carers being in contact with Ben to reduce the risks he’s exposed to. Toni hopes it will also inspire other families in similar situations as well as reinforce the need for people to stay at home during the current lockdown.
Here are a few of her most helpful pieces of advice: