Carers Week 2021: My advice to professionals as a young person being cared for

Plam is a member of the Family Justice Young People’s Board.

For me personally, being cared for is something I don’t like. It makes me feel like I cannot do anything for myself. I feel as though I have to rely on someone just to do the basics or have someone follow me around.

I understand the need for me to be cared for and the people caring for me help me as much as they can, and they are there for me when I need them. Everyone’s needs are different, and everyone’s struggles are different. Some people struggle to do a lot of things by themselves and others like having someone there.

My needs fluctuate. I struggle a lot with my mental and physical health. They help make sure I go to all my hospital appointments, and that I take my medication at the right time. They support me when I have a mental health breakdown or when I have seizures and blackouts. My care is 24/7.

My experience has been very strange as I spent a lot of my life being able-bodied with very little care and being independent, to then having full round the clock care. It has been very hard for me to accept that I do need to be cared for and for my brain to adjust to this new life.

My key message to professionals working with young people being cared for is to communicate – without communication, it is hard to build a relationship. If you don’t talk you will not know what that person wants.

Every young person is different and has different needs, and you need to get to know their likes and dislikes – get to know that person. Show them that it’s okay to have help. It’s okay to not be okay. Take an interest and they are more likely to be comfortable around you and will allow you to help them more.

Never assume their needs because you’ve worked with one young person and think that you know everything about their condition. Because no one is the same. Some tools that worked with another person might not work with them. Be patient and open-minded.

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