What is the course about?
Caring Counts contains a mixture of personal reflection, ideas about how we learn from reflection, and activities to try out yourself.
The course features the lived experience and personal reflections of 12 carers from diverse backgrounds and with different caring responsibilities. Their stories, together with their reflective activities, illustrate a range of personal journeys and the circumstances and challenges that have affected real life choices.
For example, Hedar, who has a disability, cares for her disabled sister and her father, who has dementia. Hedar’s caring role is unlikely to change soon. She chose distance learning as a way to create time and space for herself while caring at home.
My way of thinking is completely different … I feel I can think deeper … These things make me happy because I feel I’m improving myself. I’m improving my brain, doing something for my brain!
Clair, another carer featured in this course, looked after her mum, who died last year. She talks about the positive aspects of caring that she has recognised with the support of her local young adult carers group:
We’re used to stressful situations, so we’ll bring a lot to any job … that’s a definite positive, as well, just the relationship you have with the person you’re caring for. I mean, you become a lot closer to them, and they’re relying on you.
Lesley, who has already completed a reflection course, tells us how the process of reflection has helped to boost her confidence:
I think you definitely lose confidence if you have to give up a career, for whatever reason. You lose your sense of identity and worth. Being a carer can be isolating too. Not working also has a huge impact financially. As time goes on, your self-esteem can erode and you can start to feel that there are no opportunities available…
Reflection helps you realise your potential, which can get lost in your caring role.
Lesley also completed an Open University access course. While still caring for her son, she has gone on to study business studies part time at a local university.
You’ll hear more from Hedar, Clair and Lesley shortly.
In the meantime you can meet all the carers you’ll be hearing from during the course.