Jeanette is 73 and cares for her daughter Cathrine who is 48 and has Down's syndrome, epilepsy and hypothyroidism. Cathrine is profoundly deaf, and was diagnosed with dementia ten years ago.

Older female carer sitting on her sofa

Jeanette has cared for Cathrine at home all her life, she also cared for her husband who she lost recently to vascular dementia.

Jeanette's typical day starts early helping her daughter get up and to the toilet, she then prepares her breakfast, medication and drink. Jeanette continues to care for Cathrine's needs throughout the day, keeping her physically and mentally stimulated.

Cathrine's behaviour is very changeable and has become more challenging with the development of dementia. After a day of caring Jeanette gets up an average of three times a night to tend to Catherine.

Jeanette now has her own health problems, she has had major heart surgery and has had a stroke and also has age related arthritis plus deafness too.

This makes going out together without help very difficult. Any trips, including medical appointments, require a great deal of planning and extra support.

The times most of us look forward to such as weekends and bank holidays are particularly difficult.

Jeanette finds the online chat forum at Carers Trust a life line.

I love it, it really helps break the loneliness. I look forward to the regular Wednesday night chat.

Jeanette is offered respite, but now finds she doesn’t use her total allocation, as there is no one to enjoy the time with.

When her husband was alive they used this valuable time for nights out and holidays together. Jeanette said that the hardest part about her role now is the loneliness.

I would just like someone to call and ask how I am from time to time.

* Identities and photos of carers have been changed in the interest of privacy.