Hayden Ventura-Chase is only aged 19 but acts as a carer for his elderly grandfather Joe Ventura. To have the views of such a young carer provides a new and welcome perspective on the issues of caring for people suffering from COPD.
In my experience as a carer so far (about 15 months) I have seen my grandfather’s health in constant fluctuation, ranging from general breathlessness to a near state of complete collapse, where he constantly shakes and can’t find the strength to stand. Even with all these ups and downs and my grandfather’s two serious conditions, he still finds it within himself to keep some form of independence and clings to that independence like the stubborn old goat that he is.
Most days I spend doing general chores around the house, cooking, cleaning, washing and even now I’ve taken on the role of his personal driver. But the biggest task I have to do as my grandfather’s carer is watch over him.
As of September last year he has been suffering from depression and anxiety more and more, this is because of two things; his deteriorating health, but also the loss of his wife and my grandmother. Some days it is hard, very hard actually, to be his carer, as when he does become depressed and anxious he becomes somewhat ‘cattier’ towards people. Not only this, but he also speaks with such sadness and desperation that it is almost to heartbreaking for me to bear, but I do, as I love my grandfather and intend to stay by his side until I am no longer needed.
So through the good and the bad I have stuck by my grandfather, it has been taxing at times, physically, emotionally and mentally, but I still stand by my decision to take care of him. We bicker through the bad and laugh through the good, and honestly, I am glad that I have stayed through everything.