Douglas’ mum has been struggling with Myalgic Encephalopathy (M.E.) since June 2013. This affects her in varying degrees but on the whole it means she is housebound and feels exhausted for days after doing small tasks such as hanging out the washing.
Douglas and his older brother help their mum a lot and have be quite self-sufficient. They also have an older sister who is around however she is busy with University/work/friends and so a lot of the caring responsibilities fall to the boys.
“It gets me tired”
Douglas’ mum realised the impact that this was having on her sons and was keen to refer them to Carers Link for support. After visiting her and the two boys at home, it became clear that only Douglas was interested in engaging with the Young Carer service.
I met with Douglas regularly on a 1-1 basis, mostly at home but we also went out and about on several occasions as well. Taking into consideration Douglas’ keen interest in football, one of the young carer workers employed with us visited him on several occasions and spent some time practising football techniques with him while encouraging him to talk about anything that was worrying him.
Douglas didn’t use the time to speak too much about his caring role however he often spoke of issues he was having with friends and at school. For him, the biggest impact of his caring situation was that he felt he was missing out on the usual trips and activities which families do and which actually, he had previously been able to do with his mum before she became ill in 2013.
I felt it was important that Douglas should feel more included and we were able to work on this by ensuring he was able to attend the young carer group by providing transport there and back. Without this, Douglas wouldn’t have been able to attend.
Douglas has since come along to almost every single group and has enjoyed taking part in many activities which he previously hasn’t been able to enjoy. He explained to me that a trip to go bowling at Christmas was the first time he had ever been to Braehead – something which many of us would take for granted.
Douglas is now feeling more settled at school and enjoys the various activities at the young carer group. He has joined a local football club which he enjoys taking part in and is feeling much less isolated.