The fear around unlocking for carers


When lockdown happened, the world held their breath and everyone became anxious.  We all live with a certain amount of stress in our lives and whatever was already going on, this was on top.

There was a 600% increase in the numbers of carers calling the Alzheimer’s Society support line, carers had a really difficult time.  Most carers can suffer from carer burn out with the right stresses to push them there and COVID-19 added to their existing stresses.

Carers then arranged for food to be delivered, for the medications to be delivered or collected and did a great job in shielding the loved one that they cared for.  And stayed inside for three months.

Slowly the announcements of the restrictions of lockdown have eased and slowly, bit by bit, things have relaxed.  But not for some carers.

The anxiety that they felt initially is still there.  The concern for their loved one is still very real, as the virus hasn’t disappeared completely, it is just waning and the press is full of stories of the second peak that they worry will be coming, possibly in the autumn.

This ongoing fear of the disease, in spite of the reduction in lockdown restrictions means that carers are still living as though they are in full lockdown.  They are reluctant to leave the house and still get their groceries and medications delivered.

I have anecdotally heard lots of stories of different people who are beginning to feel like this.  People of all ages and all predicted levels of COVID-19 risk.  It is almost like a new version of agoraphobia, where they are struggling with the idea of going outside.  This is not true agoraphobia, they are struggling with populated places, because of the concern of infection, so the only places they will go are isolated ones.  I have heard of walks outside in very remote parts of the countryside, away from the popular tourist destinations, where they can take a walk and meet no-one.  But these journeys outside are few and far between.

I have heard from medical professionals that they mental health explosion of cases has already begun to happen and mental health professionals think that this is likely to be just the beginning.

The ramifications of this virus will be far reaching and long lasting.

Everyone will be dealing with some level of stress, for some it will be a minor annoyance, for others, they will be at risk of taking their own life and there will be every level of stress between those two extremes.

Be gentle, be kind, be compassionate.  Be all of those things with yourself and others.  We truly are all in this together.