A day in the life of a very special carer
To celebrate Carers Week, I reached out to a wonderful carer called Hitesh to hear his story. Hitesh is a full-time carer for his 80-year-old mother who suffers from chronic kidney disease, osteoarthritis and dementia. When his father died, Hitesh gave us his corporate career and dedicates all of his time to his mum – who remains his biggest inspiration in life.
Day-to-day, Hitesh handles the cooking, cleaning, shopping and appointments, but he also places a special focus on his mum's wellbeing. Together they meditate, practice tai chi, recite tradition Hawaiian affirmations, and do the gardening. This year they've planted some beautiful sunflowers. Hitesh and I shared such a moving and enlightening conversation so I wanted to share it with as many people as possible. Make sure you watch until the very end, as hitesh's Mum joined us on-screen and it truly made my day.
Speaking to Hitesh made me see just how important it is for carers to feel visible and valued. As Hitesh said, “people know what you do, but they don’t really know how you feel.” Providing better support, recognition and resources is critical to reducing the burden that carers silently face each day.
Hitesh realised this very quickly when he became a carer, and he now hosts a weekly Facebook Live session where other carers can ask him questions and share information. This ability to connect with one another, share knowledge, and know that you are not alone cannot be underestimated. Hitesh's experiences - especially during the pandemic - reaffirmed just how important the work that Virgin Media is doing with Carers UK to connect one million carers really is.
After speaking with Hitesh, I read through a new report from Carers UK called Breaks or Breakdown, and it was sad to see so many parallels between Hitesh’s experience and the report findings. The need for better support is evident, with 74% of carers saying they are exhausted, and 65% feeling lonely and isolated.
During Carers Week and well beyond, we need to do more to make carers feel visible and valued. This means better connections, and better access to the support, and respite, they need to look after themselves as well as their loved ones.
Thank you so much to Hitesh (and your mum!) for taking the time to speak to me, and thank you to the millions of carers in the UK for the selfless work that you do, everyday.