A FULL-TIME unpaid carer who ‘doesn’t know how she keeps going’ fears that without further help for people in her position there may be a national crisis.

Helen Love, 60, lives with and cares for her 85-year-old mum Ann, who suffers from dementia.

Each day brings its own challenges, as Helen has to constantly supervise and watch out for her ailing mother without any additional support.

She chose to speak out as next Wednesday sees the launch of a national walking campaign - The Big Step Out - to raise awareness for unpaid carers.

It’s being organised by the charity, Stepping Out With Carers.

Helen told the Chronicle: “It’s hard and it just keeps getting worse.

“It’s like living in Groundhog Day - I’ve got to do everything around the house to keep her safe.

“On top of that I’ve got to intercept the mail, because she doesn’t understand that when she hides it it could be something that we need to respond to.

“I can’t let her answer the phone or the door - if someone phoned up saying they’re from the bank and needed her details she’d give them without question.”

Helen upended her life in Kent, where all her friends and family live, to come and support her Huddersfield Road-based mum.

Since September she’s had only one day off, and things have only got worse following her dad’s death earlier this year.

“She doesn’t seem to understand he’s dead,” Helen added.

“In some ways it’s like a new freedom for her because she likes to drink and dad would stop her.

“Now, because I’m her daughter, she thinks she can get away with it, so I’ve got to be aware of that too.

“I’m also having to handle my dad’s estate now.”

Helen describes her attempts to get additional support like being ‘stuck on a merry-go-round’.

“Because she can still get out of bed, get dressed, go to the toilet and make jam on toast they won’t provide care.

“But if I paid a stranger to come and look after her she’d be stressed out, and her welfare comes first.

“I think there’s going to be a real issue for the NHS and government if they don’t handle these situations.

“If I decided I couldn’t handle it anymore and moved back to Kent, or if something happened to me, I don’t know what would happen with my mum so I’ve got to be mindful of my own health for her.

“I honestly don’t know how I keep going, but I guess I don’t really have a choice - I’ve got to be here for my mum.”

Research shows that the UK has ten million unpaid carers.

A whole host of sports and entertainment stars will be joining Wednesday’s event, including Olympian Sir Steve Redgrave, players from rugby league outfit Leeds Rhinos, TV presenter Clare Balding and many others - though anyone is free to donate money or steps in support.

Sue Mott, chief executive of Stepping Out With Carers, said: “We’re really excited to launch our first ever national campaign, The Big Step Out, to celebrate unpaid carers and those they care for.

“Anyone, anywhere can take part, as long as they send us their step count and stories.

“We would love our millions of unpaid carers to see how appreciated they are by the rest of society when so often they feel unseen, unheard and isolated.”