Self-care isn't selfish As a part of Carers Week, Independent Lives spoke to Glen about her role as an informal carer, and why it’s so important to raise awareness of what carers do. I’m a parent, and I’m a carer. I look after my daughter, Tash, who will be 26 next month. We live at home, together with my husband and our three cats (a very important part of the family and adored by Tash). We receive a personal health budget and have a direct payment, which we use to employ personal assistants to help provide (invaluable) support during the day. Carers Week is an important time for all carers across the UK. A lot of the time, it feels like the awareness of what we do goes unseen, and our voices go unheard. We deserve to feel valued, and we need to be heard. If we didn’t do what we do, our loved ones wouldn’t have the care and support they need and deserve. My daughter is able to live at home as a part of our family because of what I do. If we didn’t do what we do, who else is going to do it? Carers do what they have to do, out of love, care, and determination, to enable their cared for have the best quality of life they can have; so they can feel safe, and loved. A carer can come from any walk of life, and anybody can find themselves in a position with caring responsibilities. There isn’t one set of skills or attributes which make a good carer, but every carer has one thing in common: patience. That might be patience to find the right support, patience for the system, patience for their cared for individual, or patience with themselves – it’s important in every aspect of being a carer. There’s one final aspect of being a carer which I think it’s important to raise as a part of this week: you have to sometimes put yourself first. If you don’t look after yourself, you can’t look after your loved one. With all of our responsibilities and the pressures that come with being a carer, it’s really easy to put yourself at the bottom of the list. If you’re only going to take away one thing from this Carers Week, there’s no better lesson: take care of yourself, you deserve it. To read more about Carers Week, and to support the campaign for better breaks for unpaid carers, click here.