Joy Anderson looks after her mum Betty, who faces a daily struggle with mobility issues and a range of other health problems. Joy is her sole carer and struggles to keep on top of things while making sure her mum is happy. Thankfully Wiltshire charity Carer Support Wiltshire are helping.
Four years ago Joy Anderson gave up her Yoga business and life in London to move to Pewsey to become a full-time carer for her mum. It was not a decision Joy took lightly, but one she felt she had to make.
Joy’s mum Betty – now 88 – became disabled when she was in her 40s after an operation left her unable to walk without aids. Over the years, it impacted her general health and she ended up with a host of other health problems, including a respiratory condition, cancer and a hip fracture. Eventually, she was unable to look after herself and needed support with almost every aspect of her daily life.
The first time I came to care for my mum, I was actually working for a yoga retreat in Costa Rica when I heard that she had fractured her hip,” says Joy, “so I came home, put my house in London up for rent and moved. Mum was in constant pain and those first twelve months were the hardest in our lives – just getting from morning to evening was a struggle
Things did improve after a successful operation, and eventually Betty was able to be independent again for nearly 10 years. However, she reached a point where she needed more support than Joy could give just on weekends and that’s when Joy moved to Pewsey.
Joy is Betty’s only carer. It’s a role she loves but says sometimes it can be challenging.
“I pretty much do everything and I have very little help,” she says.
Thankfully Joy got in touch with Carer Support Wiltshire, a charity which offers information, advice, support and a range of other services to carers.
After making a phone call to the charity, Joy and Betty have been able to access a sitting service – a valuable lifeline which gives Joy some much needed time off.
“CSW have been fantastic. They were able to help me access the support I needed so that someone could come and sit with mum for three hours a week. It gives me space and time for myself.”
Joy says she has also called the charity for emotional support when she has found the constant responsibility of caring for her mum exhausting.
“Sometimes you are faced with life or death situations and it can be very scary and you need to talk to someone who understands. Sometimes I feel isolated with no one to think about other than mum and that can get quite intense.” she says.
“Carer Support Wiltshire were there for me when I needed to talk. Although sometimes it can be challenging, there is nothing better than feeling you did your best for your mum, and if it is possible, I would encourage more people to do the same,” says Joy. “When you give something of yourself, you benefit as well as the person you are caring for.”