Walk a Mile in... Yuet's Shoes
Yuet is an active member of the Chinese community in Derbyshire and cares for her adult son who has epilepsy and a learning disability.
Yuet also works at her local hospital. Listen to the story of how Yuet juggles her caring role with her job supporting patients on her ward.
Listen to Yuet's story and find out what it's like to walk a mile in her shoes. Or read her story below.
"My name is Yuet. I am a full time carer, I have a son that has epilepsy as well as learning difficulties.
"I am also work as a full time carer working in Chesterfield Royal Hospital on the respiratory ward looking after patients who have been diagnosed with COPD. Some patients they very often come in have respiratory difficulties and cannot breathe due to lung cancer or lung meds.
"As a carer I find it very challenging, not only dealing with the disability medical conditions but psychologically they also have mental disability and learning disability. Some people have very challenging behaviour due to the medication and side effects. Changes their daily living on a normal daily activities that they would normally do independently for themselves. Not only looking after then physically but also looking after their mental wellbeing.
"Very often I find as a carer we can be a little bit vulnerable because we are exposed with all different spectrum of the suffering and difficulties that they are facing.
People with learning difficulties very often forget things, don’t know how to communicate, loss the sense of communications, to process information is quite challenging for them because of the side effects of the drugs they are having, due to their medical condition.
"Sometimes we find as a carer we can be a little bit, how do I say, exhausting because of taking care of the physical side as well as the mental wellbeing.
Not only just giving them medication, but taking care of their daily routines, often having to remind them to do thing in a certain time and have a structure plan for them, a certain time you do this and certain time you have to complete that.
"So it’s not all about listening at the end of the day, of course you have got to be very patient with them when you are listening to them tell you things, because very often they find themselves not being able to express how they want to say, or how they want things for them or to do for them. It’s because they are suffering, they are in pain, not just in pain but, because of the environment they are in. They feel very frustrated at not being able to do things on their own without anybody monitoring them and observing the things that they are doing whether walking, whether washing themselves or even small things it can be really difficult for them because when people have learning difficulties, as well as physical disabilities, they find that it’s not that they don’t want to achieve things or be independent, it’s because they are not able to be independent. That’s why we as carers often give them assistance and support and have a care plan to care for them, so they can have a structured routine on a daily basis.
"But on the other hand as a carer it can be very rewarding because little things can make such a big impact on their lives, just to give them a little bit of assistance to enable them to do things that are achievable within their own ability.
"People who lack mental capacity to make decisions for themselves, those are the ones even more challenging because you have to have a fine drawn line to give then informed choices for them to make the decision, to make the right decision that is suitable for them. But very often people who lack mental capacity we have to step in with other allies, professionals, to set out guidelines what is the best interest for the individuals.
"Those individuals that we have to step in to make decision on their behalf for their best interests, as they are not able to make a sound decisions by themselves.
Above all to be a carer it can be easy it depends on what kind of disability they have.
"I can honestly say that taking care of someone with a physical disability is much easier than mental disability or learning disability, because physical disability you can enable them, you can assist them and equip them to do things with a little bit of helping hand. But people who have mental disability they are not able to make choices, they cannot choose what is best for them. And often that they suffer from lots of psychological imbalance such as sexuality imbalance, emotional imbalance, their minds are not balanced and this can lead to all kinds of frustrations. From their behaviour you will be able to observe and make assessment.
"By observing their change in behaviour you will be able to assess what is challenging for the individual to face, or deal with things that they have not come across or not familiar with, or even small things can be really challenging for them, but they may not be able to express themselves to tell you what is going on in their mind.
"But we as carers are kind of like a advocacy to advise them and act on their behalf, and very often to interpret what they are trying to tell other people, to interpret their behaviour, their change in behaviour, their mood, the way they behave, the way they relief their frustration, the ways they show their emotional breakdowns such as anger, crying, upset, silence.
"So being a carer it can be challenging but it is also that you will feel so much better when you help someone it is really rewarding because you find it very satisfying to make someone happy, even little things that make them happy.
"So overall to be a carer is challenging, is difficult, it can be physically difficult or exhausting, but on the other hand it is very nice to be able to care for someone.
I think to be able to care for someone is really, really something that is priceless, and I find caring for someone is really, really, really rewarding."