Young Adult Carers often have very little time to focus on their own goals and ambitions and can feel torn between their caring responsibilities and pursuing their own dreams, according to Norfolk Carers Support Young People’s Services Manager, Catherine Bibb:
“Moving to independent living is a milestone every young adult hopes to achieve, but it is not without its barriers; issues such as job security and affordable housing. These issues are further compounded for Young Adult Carers, who find themselves worried about how the person they care for will cope, how far away they can feasibly move, finding alternative caring arrangements, and how they will juggle working, living away from home and still providing care.”
There are estimated to be more than 4,000 Young Adult Carers in Norfolk aged 16-24, providing unpaid care to a friend or family member due to illness, disability, a mental health condition or substance misuse problem, through their dedication to a loved one.
19 year old Emily Skinner from Attleborough cares for her mum who has fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis and depression:
“I was working towards a Health and Social Care Level 3 Diploma which was due to finish in May last year and I had to leave in January after my mum fainted and broke her shoulder. She actually had the accident in August 2015 but we were really struggling and I realised there was no way I could catch up and finish the course.
If it hadn’t happened, I would be working; there was a nursery holding a job open for me for when I finished college, and because I didn’t finish the course, I didn’t get the job.
I’m working twice a work at the chiropractors in Taverham at the moment and because mum is better in summer I also have a job at children’s play scheme. It’s school hours and only up the road, so if mum needs me, it’s OK. It’s been harder this summer though as she put her back out so I haven’t been able to attend many work meetings, which happen after the children have gone.
Mum and I have been speaking to Vicky, our Norfolk Carers Transitions support worker, and have had phone call assessments from social services. We are looking at what we can put in place going forward. I do want to care for mum but I can’t carry on with my life if I carry on caring for her. We are hoping to find a solution that works.”
In the past year, Norfolk Carers Support Transitions Team has supported 155 Young Adult Carers across Norfolk to help them balance their caring role without compromising their own aspirations. They support Young Adult Carers to move into independent living, and find alternative caring arrangements to allow them to pursue higher education both in Norfolk and out of the county.
Miss Bibb continues:
“No young Adult Carer should miss out on any opportunity afforded to their peers. Whether a Young Adult Carer wants support to manage caring alongside moving to independent living, wants to stop caring altogether, or wants to remain in the family home but is struggling to cope, we can help.”
Some of these issues were recently discussed in an opinion piece for The Guardian Newspaper – you read it here.