A daughter’s story

‘I feel it’s my duty now to look after mum.’

Acting as carer for a loved one is a future outlook that most of us would rather not think about. But for some, that eventually turns into a reality, writes Rachel Brennan.

As part of Carers Week, colleagues are sharing their own experiences of the highs and lows of providing unpaid care for a loved one.

Dawn Taylor, advisor in the Bangor customer experience team, officially started caring for her 83 year-old mother, Mair (Welsh for Mary), when she was diagnosed with vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s just over a month ago.

‘Mum wasn’t comfortable with carers coming into her home. I’d already been looking out for her for quite a number of years – but since the diagnosis, I need to pop in every day,’ says Dawn.

As her daughter, Dawn’s known best how to support her mum. But coronavirus and the lockdown has brought about extra challenges.

‘She was always such an independent person, happy-go-lucky person,’ explains Dawn. ‘But she can get quite forgetful and she was recently aggressive. I know that’s not her – she’s never been that sort of person. It’s totally out of character.’

People’s mobility and personality can change completely with dementia, and that can have a devastating impact on the family support network. It was a major blow for Dawn when she realised Mair’s memory was failing, particularly in recognition of close-knit family members.

‘She’s struggling to remember my daughter and her two boys – who she’s always had an incredibly close relationship with,’ said Dawn.

‘When she receives letters from the bank, she works herself up terribly. She’s worried that she doesn’t have enough money in the bank. She’s fine, but she’s just confused.’

Royal Mail recognises the contribution unpaid carers make to families and communities across the UK.

‘Penny is my manager, I’ve felt very supported,’ says Dawn. ‘When something’s happened with mum, Penny just says, “go to your mum and phone me after to let me know how she is”. I couldn’t ask for a better employer.’

When a family member or friend requires care, it’s up to those closest to them that inevitably have to make some tough decisions. That can mean a lot of life-changing adjustments.

‘I had a brilliant mum and dad, a wonderful upbringing,’ says Dawn. ‘I feel now, it’s my duty to look after her because she’s been such a brilliant mum. She’s my best friend.’

Keep a look out for more about Carers Week on myroyalmail.com and Workplace.

If you’d like further information, please email: Parents.and.Carers@royalmail.com

7 Jun 2021