Helen is a full time carer for her elderly mother. Despite the pressures of life as a carer she is upbeat and optimistic and gives us an insight in to what life is like for her as we find out what carers rights means for her.
Helen used to be a Barrister but has spent the last 5 years caring full time for her elderly mother. As an only child, Helen has no other family members to turn to for support and she is starting to experience some of her own health issues.
This means she is extremely grateful for the work of Carers Network who allow her some much needed respite.
"They are wonderful" says Helen, "the day trips they provide are so relaxing and it is lovely to meet other carers and take a break from caring. The day trip to Brighton was amazing - listening to the sound of the sea, eating fish and chips on the pier meant I slept so well when I got home that night".
Carers Network have made a real difference to her life; "I know where I stand, June is very professional and they do exactly what they say they will".
Making a real difference
As well as Carers Network, getting home care support for her mother has made a real difference to Helen's life and helped her regain some of the freedom she used to have."I used to have a very good job and income, I spent lots of time with friends. Since my Mum moved in my lifestyle has changed a lot".
Helen explains how her sleep patterns are disturbed and that her mother needs support all day long. Luckily, through direct payments, Helen accesses home care support for her mother and is full of praise for the carer who has been helping her with her for the past year and a half.
"She is like a daughter to me, I love her to bits. She understands my Mum and has a lot of patience. I would be lost without her".
Although caring for her mother is difficult at times, Helen is aware of the difference it makes to her mother's life. "I know she appreciates it a lot - I can see it in her face. When I give her food she always says "make sure you have some too" and she thanks me for keeping her clean and making sure her hair looks nice".
So what does Carers Rights Day mean for Helen? She is looking forward to attending the Carers Network event on the day,
"I'm hoping I will learn more and get advice and support. I also hope it raises awareness amongst other people". I asked her about The Care Act and what this might mean for her in her role as a carer? "I would like there to be more regular assessments for my mother to take account for her changing needs".
For now though, Helen continues to approach life with vigour and excitement. She sports a stylish new hairstyle and is looking forward to seeing Peter Andre at the weekend "I'm a massive fan, he's actually related to me through my mother's side of the family".
Carers Network are a London based charity providing support, information, breaks and grants for unpaid carers. Their vision is of a city where the role of all unpaid carers is recognised, supported and valued.