News

How lockdown has affected me

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have heard many stories from people in Surrey about their experiences. Here are some of the stories which have been shared with us. Whether it’s mental health, pre-existing conditions, being a carer or the coronavirus having an impact on education, these have all been important in helping us to understand how the pandemic has affected local people. This enables us to feedback our findings to health and social care providers in Surrey to help them understand what is working well and not so well for local people during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also offer information, advice and signposting to health and care services in Surrey.

Here’s Elaine’s story:

 

Elaine is an unpaid carer for her husband who has Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

“I’m 74 and the sole carer for my 80-year old husband. I am active and fit, and before lockdown I worked part time in a school for young adults with learning difficulties. I have a good network of friends with whom I go out. I also go on holiday with them once a year, when my family provide respite.

In lockdown I receive no respite at all. I cannot take my husband out because we are in the vulnerable group. I am still working from home which gives me a welcome break from my routine. I have also been in touch with friends through Zoom. The WI monthly book club I belong to has given me something to look forward to. Thankfully, my dog has given me reason to go for an hour’s walk regularly, so that I have not felt totally disconnected from the outside world. My children have not been able to visit and not having any physical contact with any of them has proven very isolating. I feel as if I am doing it all on my own which is very hard. I have also noticed the lack of stimulation has impacted my husband whose condition has evolved rapidly.

Despite the difficulties encountered during the pandemic, it has been heart-warming to see so much community spirit. I have probably got to know more distant neighbours during this time. I am finding caring for my husband progressively more difficult. I wish adjustments had been put in place when I requested them. For instance, I need a bannister to help my husband up and down the stairs. I have not been contacted by any health or social care professional to check on how both of us are doing; yet my friend, whose husband is very ill with cancer, has been getting weekly phone calls.

I suffer from high blood pressure and the current stress is not helping my condition. Getting through to my GP is difficult at the best of times but I know it’s not possible to go to the surgery right now and it’s almost impossible to get an appointment on the phone so I just check my own blood pressure!

What I look forward to the most when we all come out of lock down is to give my grandchildren, all nine of them, a huge hug and to see my closest friends for an afternoon tea. I also hope that people who suffer from conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are given the same level of practical and emotional support as those with other medical conditions in future.”

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