The unseen struggles of a carer during the Covid-19 lockdown

I’m sure many here are facing many of the same struggles, but I just wanted to get some things off my chest. Since the lockdown began I’ve been finding my role as a carer becoming more and more demanding as time goes by and we spend more time at home. I’ve had battles with doctors and their practice managers over refusing to provide medication unless the person I care for attends a medication review, I’ve been staying up until past midnight in my efforts to secure a delivery slot for groceries and weekly essentials, having to put up the medication for the person I care for as the pharmacy will no longer put it into daily blister packs as they did pre Covid, having to deal with the paranoia of the person I care for thinking he’s going to catch the virus from anything he touches from outside of the home, not getting anywhere near enough sleep, and many other things on top of all the other daily care needs. As I sit here writing this and thinking about all the things I need to get done today I find myself wondering how much longer I can cope with this before I either burn out or go insane, but given that we received a letter yesterday advising us that the current guidelines in Wales on shielding the elderly and most vulnerable and staying at home are going to remain in place until at least June it looks like I’m going to have to struggle on for a few more weeks yet. Even the little things, things that I’d normally be able to brush off are starting to get to me now and some days I just feel like I’m being taken for granted.

Anyway, time to stop wallowing in my own self pity and get on with the day ahead I suppose.

Hello Michael. There is nothing wrong with getting things off your chest; you may feel better for it. As for self pity, there are many of us with similar problems. If we share our problems we can help one another so it was a good move for you to write this post.

Can you say a little more about your battle with your medical practice? It seems reasonable to me for a doctor to insist on a medical review. What is the difficulty here? Disputes do not help your well-being; let’s see if we can find a solution.

I presume that, like others, you try to book delivery slots after midnight because you find new availability appears then. I hate to stay up that late but I find that early morning (sixish) is almost as good a time to try. As well as later slots becoming available, sometimes sprinklings of earlier ones appear too, I presume owing to cancellations.

Are you able to get out to buy groceries in person and do other things? If not, what is preventing you? A change of scenery will help you.

Try to live more from day to day and plan further ahead where essential. Imagining a long haul ahead will get you down.

We can all feel taken for granted but remember that shops, doctors, the Government, etc. have many people to cater for. Do you have friends, neighbours, etc., whom you can contact by phone. A chat on the phone and sharing of problems, ideas and positive happenings can cheer you up.

I hope my comments help and I hope that others will add their ideas.

Hi Denis,

Thanks for your comments and yes, it does help to know that I’m not alone.

As for the battle with the medical practice, it all started when the person I care for was refusing to attend and I wanted to be able to reassure him that the staff there would do everything they possibly could to protect his health and well-being. To begin with getting the information I wanted was like drawing blood from a stone and rather than just asking for some reassurance you’d have thought I was asking for the answers to the meaning of life. I finally got the answers I was looking for and finally persuaded him to attend the review.

Yes, I find that staying up until after midnight provides me with more of a chance to access a delivery slot due to new availability. I can get out and pop to the local shops for things like extra bread and milk or other essentials when I need to, but due to health issues of my own it’s easier for us to have the weekly shop delivered. I will say that the Tesco delivery drivers have been great though. Our driver phones the house when he arrives and we run through any changes or missing items before he brings the shopping up to the front door ready for me to bring in once he’s done.

I do have friends, neighbours and relatives whom I can chat with, but none of them are currently carers. However I do chat with our neighbour over the fence most days (Keeping a safe distance of course) and that does help to break up the day and cheer me up a bit. Taking the dog out for a walk is also a welcome break.

Hello Michael, welcome to the forum

I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling in this difficult time, I hope it helps to know that you’re not alone in this. Carers are facing huge challenges as they try to cope during lockdown and keep their loved ones safe and well. This is a good place to let off steam and find some support

Have you looked at our Covid-19 information pages? There is advice and information in there which may be helpful to you:

Best wishes


Google “Royal College of Genral Practitioners Carers Policy” (sorry, I haven’t got time right now) and you will find all sorts of things the doctor should be doing to help. I had to forward a copy to my practice manager, and my son’s practice, they had never heard of the policy, never mind read it!
The manager did apologise and said they’d try to implement the recommendations.

Jane, thanks for the welcome and I’ll be sure to have a read through some of the Covid-19 information pages here when I get the time.

Bowlingbun, thanks for the information and again, I’ll have a look later on when things have settled down.

I find myself wondering how much longer I can cope with this before I either burn out or go insane, but given that we received a letter yesterday advising us that the current guidelines in Wales on shielding the elderly and most vulnerable and staying at home are going to remain in place until at least June it looks like I’m going to have to struggle on for a few more weeks yet. Even the little things, things that I’d normally be able to brush off are starting to get to me now

Oh yes Michael,
I feel very similar. S is considered vulnerable despite being in excellent health as he has autism and associated learning difficulties. We can go out to exercise but he is anxious and spends virtually every waking with me - which is driving me stir crazy and very exhausting. I had a similar letter saying his day service won’t be opening until at least June.

You have my sympathy. This is a nightmare.


Hello again, Michael. Just to answer a couple more points:

I am not entirely clear what you mean by “having to put up the medication”. I thought pretty well every solid medication came in blister packs these days. (I don’t agree with this - much un-recyclable waste is left over, but that’s another story.) If the packs are marked with days of the week, that is additionally helpful. I recommend counting out the tablets each morning and putting them in an egg cup or similar container, to be taken throughout the day when required. If there is a complicated combination to be taken at different times, use various egg cups, for morning, mid-day, evening, etc. A little organisation in the morning can save mistakes and hassle later.

I too have a caree who is obsessive about hygiene, cleanliness, etc. When things are delivered I wipe them with a cloth lightly soaked with disinfectant. People cannot help this idiosyncratic behaviour, often verging on the illogical extreme, and it is better to humour them rather than fight them. It may not be a bad idiosyncrasy, anyway, because the caree is in a way taking self-responsibility against catching the virus. Better too many precautions than too few.

I am glad you eventually persuaded your caree to attend the medical review. That is a step forward.

Melly, I hope you’ll be able to get a break once the daycare service starts back up.

Denis, what I mean with regards to the medication is that prior to Covid we had an arrangement with the pharmacist whereby the medication was sorted and delivered in weekly blister packs with all the medication needed for morning, afternoon and night in it’s own blister for each individual day. However, since the lockdown they say they can no longer provide this service and the medication is now delivered in it’s original packaging and I spend a good part of my Sunday evening sorting his medication for the coming week.

I am surprised you ever got that level of service from the pharmacist, Michael. I have never had it. However you have the right idea - sort it in advance and you’ll be fine each day.

On the other hand I’m sure the pharmacist should be doing this, regardless.
Not something I am involved with myself, so will have to have a think about where I’ve read this.
I would have thought it wasn’t up to the pharmacist to make a decision like this, but up to the doctor.
I’ll be back…!

My links don’t always work on the forum, let me know if this one works, or not, but it explains the thinking behind the pharmacists attitude.

istr that the service is paid for out of the prescribing GP’s budget (if they agree to it), which makes it harder to get.

If anyone else struggles with juggling multiple medications, here’s my method.

I have a dispensing chart on the back of the cupboard door which holds all the goodies

I have a pot in the cupboard with one strip of every pill on the chart

Tip them all out of the pot, decant each pill as required into a container and put the strip back in the pot

Any strips from which you take the last pill are replaced with a fresh one immediately. Yes, that goes for you as well, right now, not five minutes later, you’ll forget.

When all the strip are back in the pot the correct pills will have been dispensed.


I think there is an updated version, but this one mentions having a Carers Champion in each practice. I was down as a carer at my practice, but later found out that I wasn’t! Mum went to the same practice, so presumably after she died they took me off without asking!!! Medical staff have tunnel vision, interested in one patient. At one stage I had five carers at the same time, from three practice’s, nightmare.

Interesting citation by BB. When mum had carers at home, they wanted blister packs to offer mum her meds. I think they wanted to shift responsibility back to pharmacy as to what to offer and when. Also faster for the me and the carers to sort out.

Actually, the carers twice pointed out errors in the packs due to changes in medication prescription happening after the blister packs were assembled.