When there’s been a bereavement in the family and you also have caring responsibilities, it’s a lot to manage and can feel very tough at any age.

With today being the start of national Carers Week (7 – 13 June), we’re sharing 19-year-old Aaron’s story to raise awareness of caring and highlight some of the challenges carers face, as well as the important difference a friendly, listening ear can make during a really difficult time.

City College accountancy student Aaron was close to his grandfather Brian, who was looked after at home by our community team before sadly, he died last year. While living with such a sad loss, Aaron and his mum, Sarah, are also sharing the care of Aaron’s grandmother, Jill, who lives close to them in Eggbuckland.

Aaron said: “My grandad was an upbeat person and always busy, and it was very hard seeing his health suddenly decline within a short space of time. We all miss him so much, but it does comfort us that he got his wish of being at home when he died because St Luke’s were able to come in and look after him there.

“It’s been particularly tough on my gran because they were married for over 60 years and now she lives by herself. I know she looks forward to the visits she gets from mum and me, and because her health isn’t good – which affects her mobility – we share the responsibility of looking after her. It’s a bit of everything really, from shopping to fixing things around the house. It’s getting harder for my mum though because she herself has arthritis and finds it difficult to move, so I’ve been taking on more.

“We manage as well as we can but it can feel stressful, particularly when I need to study for my exams, and sometimes it’s hard not having any siblings to share the responsibilities with. It can feel quite isolating. I find that what helps is the bereavement support I’m getting from St Luke’s. Due to the pandemic, this has been over the phone and it’s been reassuring to know I can talk about how I’m feeling to someone who understands.

“I also like making art – in fact, it’s a bit of a stress-reliever for me. What’s nice, too, is that my gran used to be arty so she takes a real interest in what I do. Although she’s too shaky to draw now, she’s always keen to see my latest work and that really means a lot to me.”

The theme for this year’s Carers Week is making caring more visible and valued, highlighting the vital role carers play in our communities and draw attention to just how important caring is. To find out more, click here.

If you are a carer for someone who is a patient of St Luke’s, our team is here to help you through emotional support and practical advice.