Britain

‘I wash up, cook and hoover’: Girl, 8, is carer for mum and sisters

Large numbers of young carers are struggling to cope with looking after their loved ones by themselves during the lockdown.

Many who look after a parent or help care for a brother or sister face the risk of mental health problems because support they would normally receive has been removed due to coronavirus restrictions.

Under regulations set by the government to tackle the COVID-19 crisis, many of the obligations on local authorities to ensure those in need are cared for have been relaxed.

Image: Phoebe George says she feels a sense of responsibility in looking after her family

A study found nearly 80% of young carers are feeling isolated and alone as a result.

Sky News has spoken to some of them about the difficulties and pressures they are facing.

Advertisement

Eight-year-old Phoebe George cares for her mum, Charlene who has heart failure, and her younger sisters who are aged four and six.

Speaking to Sky News, Phoebe said her mum relies on her everyday.

More from Covid-19

She said: "If I wasn't here for mummy then she wouldn't have managed it, because these last couple of weeks I've been helping her a lot. It's a lot of work and sometimes it's quite hard.

"I do the washing up, and I hoover, tidy up the bedrooms, make the beds and clean the front room and bathroom, and I help the girls have a bath and run a bath for mummy as well."

Phoebe George with  her mother
Image: Phoebe George's mother Charlene says she wouldn't cope without her daughter

Phoebe says she feels a big sense of responsibility, with the family having lost the help of a carer who would usually come in to help.

But she is well prepared.

"I learnt to cook when I was six, I like cooking beans on toast and making cakes for my sisters," she said.

The recent death of Phoebe's grandfather has made lockdown even more difficult.

Phoebe George
Image: Phoebe George cares for her mum, who has heart failure, and her two younger sisters

Her dad is taking care of their widowed grandmother so cannot visit the girls.

On Phoebe's ninth birthday, next month, she won't be able to give him a hug – a wave from a two metre distance will have to do.

The family have been self-isolating for seven weeks and, due to the severity of Charlene's condition, need to stay indoors for 11 weeks more.

They cannot even leave the house to go to a supermarket so a local charity is delivering food to them in an attempt to help ease the pressure.

Charlene is all too aware of the demands put on her daughter – she knows it's not easy for anyone, let alone a child.

She said: "I wouldn't have coped without them here. Even in the evenings, when they go to bed, it's so lonely, so hard being on my own through all of this.

Heathrow Airport claps for carers
Organisations unite in clapping for carers

"I know I've got friends on the end of a phone and people I can call on, but because I can't get out and because that social interaction is so important, they keep me going through the day."

Like Phoebe, 13-year-old George Smith is a sole carer. In his case, he looks after his mum and dad.

Both his parents fall into the vulnerable group and have been issued with government letters to say they must self-quarantine for three months.

George is completely isolated and longs for human contact.

Even hearing someone else's voice makes all the difference.

He said: "I feel lonely, sad and tired most of the time. I don't feel energised like I normally would.

"I haven't seenRead More – Source

Related Articles

Back to top button