Amelia discusses what it’s like to care for her inspirational younger sister Izzie
“I’m Amelia and I’m 16 years old. I live with my mum, my dad, my sister Izzie and Peter, a boy with special needs who shares our home. My sister Izzie is 13 and has cerebral palsy, which means she can’t walk.
Izzie and I are really close, and we are very similar. We both enjoy judo and dancing. We also both love going to Spain and talking to our friends in Spanish. However, sometimes I can’t do things I want to do if I know Izzie can’t join in, and this makes me a little bit frustrated. But I get over it.
I have always helped out with Izzie’s care as I am her older sister, so I think it’s part of my job to look after her and help her with growing up – and give her fashion tips! If Izzie needs something from upstairs or from a cupboard, I help out. However, I also try to get her to be more independent: if I think she can do it, I will ask her to do it.
Sometimes Izzie and I play on the PlayStation and do each other’s makeup. Or we just chill out, having lots of laughs and jokes together. We are lucky enough to have Kerri, who helps Izzie during half term and also on school days. I am fortunate in that I can spend time with my friends who know Izzie and are very supportive of her.
There are times when Izzie has hospital appointments or just doesn’t want to go out. At these moments, I do miss out on doing things with my friends as we have to put Izzie first. She gets colds easily, so we have to be careful. It is annoying, but my mum and dad try their hardest to let me do everything I want to do, and I am eternally grateful for that.
Sometimes it feels as though other people don’t understand what it’s like to look after Izzie, because people think you can just do whatever you want whenever you want. But you can’t, as you have to make sure it’s accessible for Izzie. We also have to make sure her medicines are correct or she will be in pain and not able to sleep.
If I was in charge, I would make sure every young carer has somebody they can talk to and someone they can go out with, without having to worry about the person they are caring for. I would also make sure every young carer has enough money for food, clothes, a house and some stuff for themselves, as so many young carers cannot afford these things as they are always looking after other people.”