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Amna who features in Swindon Carers Centre's film, Unpaid carers in Swindon: their stories.

“I look at the positives – what my son can do and that keeps me going.”

Amna, 45, of Swindon, is a parent carer. She cares for her son and shares her story during Carers Week 2024. Amna also features in our film – Unpaid carers in Swindon: their stories – which you can view on our YouTube channel here.

 

At eight-months-old my son, Haris, was diagnosed with physical and learning disabilities. He has cerebral palsy, Global Development Delay and visual impairment.

At the time I was working full-time in a factory as a finishing operator. I gave up my job to become Haris’ full-time carer. Haris’s diagnosis changed our lives. It was challenging and difficult coming to terms with Haris’s needs. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare when you are told your child will not live a normal life – you would do anything to make it better.

Haris is now 17. He is a happy boy, he loves going to school and he has a wicked sense of humour. He can get frustrated with things at times, because he is growing from a boy into a man.

I do everything for Haris, helping him with personal care to providing emotional support.

As a mum you look after your child anyway (I also have an older daughter, Sarah), but Haris has additional needs so I am a parent carer.

Being a carer is challenging – knowing what Haris likes and dislikes – but at the same time it’s rewarding and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I look at the positives. I look at what Haris can do – not what he can’t do – and that keeps me going.

Little things make us happy; like riding on a bus and seeing him smile because he is enjoying it. He loves quiz shows and we like to chill out together at home watching them on television.

Parent carer Amna with her son Haris.
Parent carer Amna with her son Haris.

Much needed support

Haris goes to respite care three nights a month. At first I used to feel guilty because I was not looking after him, but now I know that it is good for him and good for me to have a break.

I registered as a carer with Swindon Carers Centre when Haris was aged about two-years-old.

They gave me advice on benefits that I was entitled to which I’m really grateful for, because it helps me financially.

I’m a single parent and being a carer means you don’t have time to socialise with friends, so it’s important for me to attend the events that Swindon Carers Centre runs.

I can feel very isolated, but when I go to the events I’m not alone.

I meet and chat with other carers, including parent carers, in the same or similar situations. It helps to chat to others and connect with them and there’s no judgement about your situation.

The events give me to time to myself, to switch off for a bit and have some respite from my caring role. Socialising with others takes my mind off it and the worrying that comes with caring. It’s also really nice when someone else makes a cup of tea for you!

I look forward to receiving the What’s On form to see the events I would like to attend, such as the Carers Cuppas, monthly Quiz Night and Arts and Crafts sessions. There are also events which Haris can attend with me during the school holidays, like Walk and Talk (pictured below). It’s really nice to go to events together.

Amna, Haris and another carer at Swindon Carers Centre's Walk and Talk event.

 Amna and Haris at Swindon Carers Centre's Walk and Talk event.