Hi guys welcome to Amaretto’s World… You know me as the blogger, vlogger, model, presenter… But I bet you didn’t really know that I’m also a carer too? I’m a carer to 3 adults, previously 4 before my little grandad was moved to a care home due to his progressive dementia. My Mum and I share direct caring responsibilities to my Dad who recently became disabled from a tumour in his hip, and is having treatment for oesophageal cancer. On top of this we both also look after my Grandma (diabetic, stroke and heart patient) and Grandad (partially deaf, Bell’s Palsy and heart patient). Whilst I don’t live at home anymore, because of the Coronavirus lockdown I’ve temporarily moved back in to support all 3 vulnerable people in my family home. Home will always be home but now things are different…
How has Coronavirus affected me?
Firstly the biggest way it affected me was that there is no escape. My Mum is a key worker, part of a cash and carry who supply food to shopkeepers. I am also a key worker for a public service provider through broadcasting. My Mum can’t work from home but fortunately I can. She says work provides her with some form of normality and routine. I feel stuck at home, and not my own home. Even though this is my family home and I’d normally come here every other day to have dinner with my family, take care of them and stay over at weekends etc, I’d still be able return to my place.
The biggest thing I’ve learnt is how much as a carer you need to take care of yourself too, however that may be. Some like to read, go to the gym, cook, clean, take a bath - I like to do all of those things, but in my own space in my own time. Being tucked away in my own home is like a form of release, knowing I can sit down and enjoy a cup of tea without being called to do something or help someone. It sounds selfish but setting boundaries is so important. I’ve had to do this in my family home by retreating in my old room. When I first moved back I gave it a little spring clean. I found my favourite bedding as a kid, dusted my shelves and threw away (some) random old things that in the words of Marie Kondo, didn’t spark joy anymore. I come away here to catch up on Netflix shows that my parents don’t watch or I'm at my desk when I’m working.
I feel, like most people, I’m going through constant highs and lows of emotions. But as a carer, I can’t help thinking perhaps I’m more exposed to it? Being around this 24/7 and having to adjust your usual routine to find other forms of distraction. I also feel an added sense of worry. Every time I hear a cough or someone complain of COVID like symptoms, I spiral into thinking could it be? I’m more worried for my loved ones than myself. My Dad is extremely vulnerable as a cancer patient with low immunity as it is, and my grandparents have so many underlying health issues that makes them prone to it. Not to mention my Mum who sees customers every single day. It’s made us all take extra precaution…
Even like the night my Grandad called me to come back home. I was getting very emotionally unhappy and needed a release. I agreed with my family I’d go back to mine for a few days and replenish my things and pick up my work files etc before coming back at the weekend. It had only been a few hours I was gone and felt like I was being summoned back again. I quickly repacked my bag, felt annoyed and went back home only to find an ambulance parked outside my house. My Grandma was unwell and that’s why my Grandad wanted me to come. The paramedics had her strapped to a stretcher and hooked up to oxygen. Deep down I was panicking, like why are they taking her? Does she have it? What about my Dad?
As I write this she’s due to spend her 6th night in hospital and we’ve only just been told that her test results came back negative. With that sigh of relief, thoughts at the back of my mind hope that even by spending time in hospital, she doesn’t catch anything. The whole process has been very strange. Watching my Grandma be taken into hospital, knowing no one can go with her or visit her. She can’t use a mobile phone to update us and speaks little English. We had to wait for daily updates when the staff were available to talk, and even then only one family member kept checking in to avoid bombarding the medical staff.
I’m just thankful my family are okay. My grandma is currently safe and we await her homecoming. I pray everyday for their protection and that the world becomes whole again. Another thing I will put out there is that during this pandemic, if you are, like me, a carer or even a parent, some of us will still be working from home, which isn’t always easier - you’re working longer and harder and feeling the pressure. All this on top of your caring responsibilities can be overwhelming to say the least. So know that it’s okay to want some downtime. You don’t have to join the group video call or respond to the ever growing list of social media challenges. If you want to listen to your favourite song because it makes you feel happy without tagging someone in it, it’s okay! Remember we’re in a lockdown for national and global health and safety, you don’t have to become an expert baker or renovate your house because of ‘free time’. This is your time too, so don’t feel pressured to follow trends because everyone else is doing it. Do what you need to and if it helps, try being kinder to yourself by naming one thing you’re thankful for each day, no matter how big or small. Stay safe, well & remember to caring for yourself is important too x
Amrit AKA Amaretto is the creator of Amaretto's World. Amrit started as a fashion and lifestyle blogger around 9 years ago, during which her blog captured the transition of her journey into the world of media, broadcast and modelling. Amrit is a body confidence activist who models for mainstream brands and an author of Desi & Desire - a non-fiction piece tackling themes about British-Asian female identity. As a broadcaster Amrit often talks about challenging themes such as body image, social media and taboos within the Asian culture, all of which can be found by searching "Amaretto's World" on all social platforms.