“If you had to be isolated, unsupported and fight the system, would you apply to be an unpaid carer?”The reality of isolation, lack of support and having to fight systems every step of the way is a story I have heard countless times since - often, of course, from family carers whose loved ones have dementia, but also from numerous people in other caring roles including carers whose loved ones have different health conditions, sandwich carers and parent carers.
“Sheila told of the ‘Shear daily misery’ of their life, how ‘No one’ answered her questions, and that over the years ‘Many people came and went, and came and went’ but there was simply no continuity of support for her or her husband. Sheila admitted that she was, 'Planning how to end our lives before a call to the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline saved my life.’ Her husband eventually passed away in hospital after an agonising end to his life, with Sheila movingly recalling the actions of a nurse as her husband was finally at rest, ‘That sprig of flowers put on his chest when he died was one kindness I will never forget.’”
“It can never be acceptable that we wait until someone’s death before we show kindness to their carer who has valiantly stood by their side as, in Sheila’s words, her husband, ‘Screaming and snarled, pooed in the shower and pushed it down the drain, lost the ability to walk and talk, and went from 13 stone to just 7 stone when he passed away.’”
“There is something that touches your soul when you hear the individual stories of how people care for those they love the most.”
- One in three unpaid carers (32 per cent) looking after a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill has felt lonely or isolated because they are uncomfortable talking to friends about their caring role.
- (32 per cent) say they feel socially isolated at work because of their caring responsibilities.
- (74%) feel their caring role isn't understood or valued by their community. An unwillingness to talk about caring has for many carers created a barrier to their inclusion at work, home and in public life.