Nasr, aged 71, lives in Yorkshire and for seven years he has been the sole carer for his wife who has dementia. Nasr and his wife are Muslim. After working for the local council he gave everything up to care for his wife. Nasr’s wife actively contributed to her community, and her illness means her ability to do this has reduced. Watching this change happen over seven years has been hard, and over that time Nasr has felt increasingly isolated, but as a former council employee he knew help was out there.
During the pandemic, Nasr participated in an online mindfulness course for unpaid carers, with his local Carers Trust service – Carers Plus Yorkshire. Nasr wants more people from minority ethnic communities to know about the support available for unpaid carers. He felt the local carers service understood his needs, and those of his wife.
Nasr said: “The mindfulness course I did with Carers Plus Yorkshire was really useful as I provide care 24/7. I have developed some coping mechanisms through the years, but there are times, I must admit, that it is all a little bit much for me. As a carer there is no time for activities that I enjoy, even watching football match made me feel guilty. The mindfulness course helped me to recognise that this was not selfishness but a form of generosity and kindness to myself, as we best care for others only when our own basic needs are met.”
“During the pandemic we felt cut off. We could not get out to buy halal food easily. We are sociable and like to meet people, but it was impossible as I couldn’t take my wife anywhere, it was very stressful. Joining a carers support service really important, and a very positive step for me and my wife. I feel a sense of belonging – I’d like more members of ethnic minority communities and migrants to be reached and supported in this way. I know families who are struggling to care for their older parents and family members, and I’d like more carers to know there’s help available for them locally.”