COVID-19 is Added Challenge for Carers

Posted by: Press team on 10 June 2020 14:39

Becoming a carer for her husband left South Tyneside woman Susan Whitehead feeling as though her world had turned upside down.

Susan had to give up her job when her husband Steven was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson's Disease at the age of just 57.

Susan, of Loudon Street in South Shields, said: "All our plans for the future were just taken away from us at that point.

"We wanted to take our grand-daughter to Florida but suddenly we found ourselves facing a reality that was the exact opposite of all we had planned."

Since COVID-19, Susan's situation has become so much harder. Steven, who had his own business as a bedroom fitter, used to have a carer for nine hours a week who took him to social activities. Steven enjoyed using his woodwork skills at the Men in Sheds project, went to the Age Concern gym and also took part in activities such as cooking and arts and crafts at Ocean's Choices twice a week. However, all this has had to stop because of the pandemic.

Steven, who is now 62, has been confined to the house since the lockdown started which is impacting on his mental health.

Susan, 55, said: "It is very hard to be with someone 24/7. Steven is missing the stimulation the activities provide and I miss the respite."

She added: "It is so important to shine a light on carers and the contribution they make. Most people have no idea what it's like to be a carer. People may sympathise but they can walk away from a situation whereas as a carer you have to carry on.

"While the coronavirus has undoubtedly made our lives harder I hope it does shed a light on the work carers do and highlights the fact that we need more support from the government."

Councillor Tracey Dixon, Deputy Leader with responsibility for Independence and Wellbeing at South Tyneside Council, said: "Carers such as Susan do an amazing job. Carers' Week is the perfect opportunity to highlight, not only their selfless devotion to others, but also the challenges they face.

"We know that caring impacts on all sorts of issues from relationships to mental wellbeing. For this reason it is so important that we recognise their vital roles during Carers' Week and help them to access the support they need."

To find out more about the support available to carers, visit

Last modified: 08 October 2021 14:40