Jane cares for her husband, who has lived with Parkinson’s for 40 years. Here, she shares her experiences of being a carer when everyone is being asked to stay at home as much as possible.
The first few weeks at home were particularly hard. I can’t escape Parkinson’s anywhere in the house – I can always hear my husband’s dyskinesia, I’m constantly on alert for falls, and still have to attend to his basic needs.
I worry every time I have to go out for food and go later in the day when it’s quieter. The fear of contracting coronavirus and being unable to care for my husband or worse, passing it to him, is a constant, scary experience.
During the day, I listen to Classic FM. It’s calming and a welcome break from the news. If I’m feeling stressed, I dance around my kitchen to my husband’s community radio show. I count that as part of my exercise regime along with some yoga stretches when I wake up. A gentle walk also helps but I’m conscious of the increased numbers of people.
I have been tackling household tasks and spring-cleaning to occupy my time. Baking is proving therapeutic, reading helps me unwind and the world’s smallest jigsaw is still awaiting completion!
I talk to the plants, butterflies and my cat in the sunshine and they understand how I’m feeling especially after my husband and I have argued.
My garden has been my salvation. I talk to the plants, butterflies and my cat in the sunshine and they understand how I’m feeling especially after my husband and I have argued – we have had two humdingers with the word ‘divorce’ mentioned. My yearning for physical and social contact, and attending usual activities for respite outside the home is tangible and frustrating.
The weekly meditation sessions I used to go to have obviously been cancelled, but I listen to sessions on CDs. Just talking on the phone to friends is good for my wellbeing and it’s lovely to have a quick chat and laugh with our neighbours when we ‘clap for carers’ each Thursday evening.
Having struggled initially, life has settled down and this situation has become the norm. It is the little things that matter at the moment.
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