The Unseen Army of Caregivers: Meet Alicia

 Photo by  Joanna Kosinska  on  Unsplash

Alicia is a 15-year-old young carer from the UK. Alicia says her aim in life is to "inspire and influence people's lives, whether it be just 1 or 1000: at least I have served a purpose."

What's your caregiving story?
I was always was a independent child, learned to cook at an early age, and was able to use washing machine and cooker by the age of 10. Looking back you could class me as being a young carer at the age of 9-10 when Mum's condition (anxiety and depression) stopped her from doing the “norm” for her. As I have grown older, her not wanting to leave the house or go out has gotten much worse. But 2017 was a very difficult year for the pair of us, which gave me something, a drive to reach out for help: first, by talking to my math teacher about mum. She asked me if I had ever been considered as a young carer, to which I said no. I thank her alot, because if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be meeting so many inspiring people and going to places I never dreamed of.

What's the hardest part of being a caregiver?
The hardest thing of being a young carer for me is just not getting to do what “normal” 15-year-olds do. 

What do you need the most as a caregiver?
The best thing for me as a young carer is just having someone to talk to when I’m having a hard time, or just a day when I’m struggling to see the positives. But I would also love for all teachers to be aware of young carers, and for them to understand that what's going on isn’t their fault.

What worries you the most as a caregiver? someone who next summer is sitting for their GCSES, which predicts my future somewhat. I want to prove something to the people who have doubted me and told me I was a failure, to show them I can have life throw its worst at me and still come out with a good result.

What do you want people to know about caregiving/your caregiving life? 
I want anyone who thinks or knows they are a young carers to speak  out and get help as I wish I spoke out sooner. And don’t let anything stop you from achieving your dreams. 

If you got unexpected time off from caregiving, what would you do/where would you go?
If I got any time off from being a young carer, I'd love to go to the London graphic centre because of my love of stationery and notebooks. Or just go to a load of stationery or notebook shops!

Thank you for sharing your story, Alicia. And thanks for all you do as a young carer, both in caring for your mum and in raising awareness of young carers wherever you go. I'm honored to know you! 

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