FAMILIES of CAREGIVING YOUTH
Some children help look after someone in their family by:
* Staying in the house a lot to be there for them.
* Helping them to get up, get washed or get dressed.
* Doing lots of the household chores like shopping, cleaning, cooking . . . and maybe looking after younger brothers and sisters as well.
For many families, this seems like the only option – you may be a single parent family with no relatives living nearby, or a two parent family but one of you works long hours. If you feel that your children are taking on more of a caring role than you would like, there are two things you can do to help – click on the links to find out, or email us with a question.
“We’re working in the dark, trying to deal with our feelings, feeling guilty for relying on our children. You know they’re not responsible for you but they feel they are. You know they’re angry and there’s nowhere for them to go to before it develops. The anger festers until it gets too much and it explodes. You can hear the desperation with professionals - that they haven’t got the resources - but they’re so defensive. The door closes against you and you will never go and knock again. My doctor said to my child ‘Look after mummy, you’re the healthiest one in the family’. We need more than recognition. We need understanding.”
“Everyone always asks how I am. Ask about my child.” “Services should provide all the help at their disposal, to help children to be children and not have to grow up before their time by taking on an adult’s responsibility. They are children for such a short time and an adult forever.” West Sussex disabled parents and carers, November 2001