Episode 1: Carry on Caring
With guest Georgia Bowers. Georgia spent the height of the pandemic working in a care home for over 100 older people.
Much has been reported on the handling of the pandemic in relation to care homes. In this episode, Georgia provides a vivid account calling into question the value placed on the lives of older people, and the regard for carers on the frontline. She talks about having to suspend emotion and just carry on; but the strain and helplessness of seeing residents lose their liberty and life is something that carers will carry for a long time.
Episode 2: Who Cares?
With guest Abigail Kessel. Abi became her mother’s carer when she developed Parkinson’s and dementia.
In this episode, Abi describes the constant anxiety, fear, and uncertainly that both she and her mother experienced as they navigated their changing relationship. She talks about the mental and financial strains of providing basic care for her mother, and reflects on the lack of dignity in the treatment of people at the end of their life. In the UK 3 in 5 people will be carers at some point in their lives. For Abi, her experience caring for her mother is not something she thinks she will recover from.
Episode 3: The Informal Carer
With guest Max Cookward. Max grew up with two disabled brothers and has been an informal carer since the age of ten.
In this episode, Max talks about supporting his younger brother as a child, while also providing emotional support to his mothers. He recognises his future role as his brother’s main carer and reflects on how this impacts his own life choices. Siblings play a huge role in the lives their disabled brothers and sisters, however this can impact their own quality of life. For Max this has meant having to grow up fast – something he is now coming to terms with.
Episode 4: The Weight of Care
With guest Freya Spencer. Freya began working in care homes for disabled adults during the pandemic.
In this episode, Freya talks about the physical and emotional weight of care. Working round the clock, supressing grief and guilt, and focussing on the routine and the rhythms of getting through the day is relentless. The human interactions and connections with residents keep many going, but fitting this around the day-to-day demands is a struggle. For many this is simply not sustainable.
Episode 5: Connected through Caring
With guest Emer Morris. Emer supports her mum who has been living with cancer for over 20 years.
In this episode, Emer, who is neurodivergent, talks about caring as a value that should be embraced by all of society, rather than falling on the shoulders of a few. She discusses the role of women in care: 82% of women work in social care and 60% are unpaid carers providing 50 hours or more of support a week. The outdated notion of women as default caregivers persists, with detrimental impact on health and earning potential.