What about me? A personal development course for carers in Wales
What about me? A personal development course for carers in Wales

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What about me? A personal development course for carers in Wales

Your reflection

Activity 1.1 Thinking about myself

Timing: You should spend around 20 minutes on this activity.

To get you started, think about the following four questions:

  • How do I see myself now?
  • What am I most proud of?
  • What makes me happy?
  • How would I like to see myself in the future?

Before trying to answer these questions have a look at the following examples, which show how Alana and James answered them.

Example 1: Alana

We know that Alana has completed a Level 1 in Hairdressing and is progressing onto Level 2. Have a look at Alana’s table to see what Alana hopes for the future and how she sees herself now.

Table 1.1 Alana’s table

How do I see myself now?What makes me happy?
  • Hairdresser
  • Quiet but once you get to know me confident
  • Determined
  • Talkative
  • Volunteering
  • Sometimes call myself stupid
  • Following my dream
  • Friends
  • Family
  • Coming to Young Adult Carers group
  • Playing around with hair
  • Holidays
What am I most proud of?How would I like to see myself in the future?
  • Passing hair level 1
  • Volunteering
  • Overcoming fears
  • Successful
  • Hairdresser
  • Volunteer

Think about the following questions:

  • Do you identify with anything Alana is saying?
  • Do you have anything in common?
  • What is different about your situation and how you feel?

   

Example 2: James

Now look at James’ table and listen to him describing his experiences.

Table 1.2 James’ table

Table 1.2 James’ table

How do I see myself now?What makes me happy?
  • Middle aged
  • In a period of change
  • Letting go of the past
  • People
  • Laughter
  • Animals
  • Love
  • Peace
  • Studying
  • Good food
  • Thailand
What am I most proud of?How would I like to see myself in the future?
Remaining cheerful in the face of adversity
  • Qualified psychologist
  • Maybe working in academia
  • Happy
Download this video clip.Video player: wam_s1_james_1.1.1.mp4
Skip transcript

Transcript

James
Ok, so my caring role began properly when I was 40, I’m gonna be 46 in July. My mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when she was about 75. She’s 80 now. She’s recently gone into residential care because the disease and the illness has progressed to a point whereby she needed to be in a safer environment than independent living.
How it changed my life I suppose was extraordinary. I mean I literally went from having a very busy career, working quite hard in my 20s and 30s, following college and what have you, the usual route, to finding myself in this position whereby, you know, suddenly this terrible illness had arrived and we needed to be there for her. She lived about 35 miles away from me initially, and I would go every weekend and I did that for about 20 months, taking food. One of the manifestations of her illness was that she stopped eating, so it was very important on a practical level that she had food arrive at the house and to try and encourage her to eat. Of course, what happened was, she then…I would go away, and she wouldn’t eat during the week. So, anyway, after about 20 months as I say, we then decided to move her very close to me so she moved into a bungalow about 500 yards up the road and I worked then full time for about 2 years, but even that wasn’t enough, I needed to spend more time I think than the full time job allowed me to. So, a year last March, I took voluntary redundancy after 15 years in one organisation that I’d been with and really to allow me more time and I was very lucky; I secured a post in NEWCIS shortly after for part time work and that allowed me then to be able to take her for hospital appointments, to doctors’ appointments, just do the practicalities of day-to-day whilst also trying to have my own life a bit with my own, you know, kind of, relationship and home, etc. But it was a struggle, even then it was quite a struggle, because I think with any chronic illness which is terminal and only going one way, inevitably it gets worse, it gets harder, so things didn’t get easier they became more difficult, I suppose.
End transcript
 
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Your table

Now fill in the boxes for yourself on Activity sheet 1.1 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   that we have provided for you. We will return to this activity in Session 5 so you may want to keep a copy of your table.

OR

Open your Reflection Log and go to Activity 1.1. Once you have completed the activity, make sure you save the document again.

If you are working in a group and would like to share your answers, do so now.

Activity 1.2 Defining myself

Timing: You should spend around 20 minutes on this activity.

This activity asks you to think of the various roles you have in your life and what these involve.

In the previous section, we heard about Christine’s experiences of caring for her son, what it has taught her and how she feels about it. Have a look at Christine’s list of the roles that she now has in life, and then listen to her talking about these in the audio clip.

Table 1.3 Christine's table

My main roles in lifeWhat I do
  • Wife
  • Mum
  • Daughter and daughter-in-law
  • Aunt and great aunt
  • Listener – to husband, son, family
  • First aider
  • Restorer of humour
  • Standing up for the ‘under-dog’ better than for myself
  • Love, tend to and care for my son and husband.
  • Do what I can, learning to leave what I want to do but can’t.
  • My therapy ispaper crafting, also starting mixed media and textiles.
  • Mastering the sewing machine
Figure 1.4
Download this audio clip.Audio player: wam_s1_christine_1_2.mp3
Skip transcript

Transcript

Christine
My name’s Christine. I look after my son who’s 19 in September. He has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and other complications with it, such as cardio myopathy, inoperable scoliosis due to his cardio respiratory function and complex learning difficulties.
I’m naturally a caring person anyway, very, very caring, very touchy-physical, kind of cuddly kind of person. Qualified nursery nurse, which I fell into at school because I wasn’t academic so I ended up looking after the pre-prep children, taking them swimming and you know spending time with them in the evenings and stuff like that so I kind of fell into nursery nursing. Love nannying, just being a mum really, substitute mum. Then had a long time to wait to get married and to have a child and, I don’t know, I find it very hard to call myself his carer because I’m his mum.
End transcript
 
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

The example above shows how we have different roles in life. We all have many roles in which we use a variety of skills and abilities.

Think about the following questions:

  • Do you have anything in common with Christine?
  • Have you had to deal with some of the same difficulties?
  • Do you have goals you want to achieve?

In the previous section we also read about Claire and her role caring for her mother and her partner. Have a look at Claire’s table where she describes her many roles and what she does.

Table 1.4 Claire’s table

My main roles in life What I do
  • Carer
  • Partner
  • Daughter
  • Sister
  • Aunty
  • Student
  • Volunteer
  • Poet
  • Friend
  • General care for my partner
    • Assisting day to day activities
    • Assisting with transfers
    • Emotional support
  • Looking after my nieces
  • Staying in touch and seeing family and friends
  • Support women with mental health issues
  • Helping run and organise a drop in
  • Writing poetry and trying to get published
  • Learning British Sign Language

Now define yourself at the present time, and the roles you fulfil, in Activity sheet 1.2.

OR

Open your Reflection Log and go to Activity 1.2. (If you forgot to save your Reflection Log, you can open a new document.) Once you have completed the activity, make sure you save the document again.

If you are working in a group, you might want to share your answers and discuss your roles with each other. Similarly, if you are working one-to-one with a mentor, use this time to tease out some of the ideas above.

CYM-WAM_E1

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