Today is Friday 10th April and this is my 24th day living life in lockdown. I’ve literally not left the house in over three weeks and surprisingly – I’m loving it! I’m able to get loads of work done and don’t have to travel anywhere.
For many other disabled people they are also loving this, but for others, being in lockdown has caused stress, anxiety, fear and loneliness. Plus it brings uncertainty and difficulties in accessing care support.
Read on to find out how I’ve been managing during this lockdown and what you can do to make sure you have care support in place and keeping safe during this coronavirus crisis.
Keeping busy during lockdown
As I’m a freelance journalist and blogger, I work from home anyway. Fortunately the lockdown has made my job easier as I can get in contact with people more swiftly now they’re all at home.
For instance, as a writer at Disability Horizons, I conduct interviews with many disabled stars and celebrities. Usually it takes weeks or months to organise interviews with people, but now everyone is social distancing or in self-isolation, I’ve so far secured five interviews including comedian Rosie Jones, former Paralympic swimmer Liz Johnson and Broadway actress Ali Stroker.
I’ve also managed to join and sign up to lots of virtual training courses to improve my freelance journalism skills. This week I joined a pitching workshop on Zoom, which had a record breaking 224 people turn up. It was very interesting and engaging. I hope to attend more in the coming weeks.
Covid care plans
One of the greatest challenges disabled people are facing throughout this pandemic is maintaining care support.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you will know I’ve had my fair share of carers. In my earliest blog post, I shared my top experiences of weird, stupid and shocking carers. Then last summer I rounded up my experiences of live-in carers and how my Mum quit her job to look after me.
This year I had a South African carer work on a two week shift basis with my Mum. Unfortunately, due to personal commitments, she left at the end of February. Then as the lockdown began, I trialed a new carer but after 24 hours, I decided she was not suitable and asked her to leave.
Since then my Mum has continued to care for me and I will not be taking on new carers until the lockdown is lifted. Firstly because I don’t want new people to enter my house who may contract the virus to me. Secondly, my Dad is an NHS worker and he may bring the virus home and pass it to my Mum and therefore she could no longer care for me in an emergency.
So far the only times my Mum goes out is to walk our dog and pop to the shop when essential items aren’t available in my online delivery. So the likely of either of us getting the virus is very minimal.
But if the worst was to happen and my Mum did get the virus, then I’ll need a backup plan. I’m a client for a premium introductory company called Continuity Care. So I hope they can support me in finding a backup carer.
Alternatively, I would have to get in touch with social services to see what emergency care support is available. Although I’m quite annoyed nobody from social services has bothered contacting me to check I’m safe and well.
Some other disabled people have been cutting the number of care visits from domiciliary services, only having one personal assistant rather than a team of PAs and others are relying on friends and family.
If finding a backup carer isn’t possible, another option would be to stay at an accessible accommodation facility that can provide round the clock care.
The charity Revitalise runs 3 accessible holiday complexes in different parts of the UK with amazing accessible facilities and on-site care.
As part of its pandemic strategy during this unprecedented and challenging time, it has decided to make its Sandpipers complex, in North West England, available as a possible backup plan for disabled people struggling to maintain their usual care packages during social isolation.
Overall, no matter what kind of care support you need, it is so important to put these backup measures in place should your regular care support be disrupted due to coronavirus.
What are you doing to make sure you continue to receive the care you need during this unprecedented time? Share your stories in the comments box or social media, using the #CovidCarePlan.
Remember, as long as we all keep safe, be sensible and STAY AT HOME, this virus will be defeated!!!
This blog post was sponsored by Revitalise, a charity that has accessible holiday centres across the UK, offering fully catered breaks for disabled people and their families.
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