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When you’re a parent carer like Shelagh, you don’t always acknowledge the fact that you’re a carer when looking after your son or daughter. Shelagh’s son Carl, now 16, has Down’s Syndrome.

When they’re babies, they’re babies. My eldest son Aaron is 21 and doesn’t have any additional needs so it took somebody to point out that I was doing more than is normal as a mother for Carl

I didn’t call social services for years because I knew I would break down and cry. I think you sometimes need a bit of an intervention. In the early days, I needed that little push to get help


It was a bit of a slow realisation. I didn’t label myself as a ‘carer’ from the very beginning. When it’s from birth, you start off as looking after a baby just like everyone else

Since then, Shelagh has received some fantastic support from a great social worker and was put in touch with Carer Support Wiltshire

One of the services she’s benefitted from is access to a Carers Clinic at her local GP surgery where she was also given a prescription break

Since I have my own health needs (Shelagh has arthritis), it meant that I was entitled to access a break to the value of £50 which was a very welcome surprise

Shelagh decided to spend the break on a couple of manicures which she found gave her a ‘real lift’. It was something she had always fancied having, but had never been able to take the time to enjoy

Nowadays, Shelagh feels able to carry on caring thanks to the outside support she’s received

We’re in a much better place now we’ve accessed support and local services. When I’m at a low ebb, I know that I can pick up the phone to Carer Support Wiltshire and have a moan. It helps to know someone is there

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