My name is Alison Cram and I have been caring for my Dad since my Mum died in 2013.
Dad suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was knocked down by a car in 2008 and subsequently had a minor stroke in 2014. It left him with cognitive problems (affecting his short-term memory, decision-making and information processing), speech difficulties, sight impairment, low mood and occasional problems with balance. As if he hasn't had enough to deal with, he now has vascular dementia.
Dad has been on a tough journey and has done remarkably well. Becoming his carer has also felt like a pretty tough journey, too. It's taught me a lot, but it ain't been no picnic.
On the good days I've learnt to treasure the small, lovely moments that caring has given me. Sitting with Dad in the garden watching the birds; sharing stories out of the newspaper; tucking him into bed at night. It's given me a valuable perspective on what really matters in life. What could be more important than looking after the ones that we love when they need us the most?
On the bad days I've been frustrated, fed up, tired, harassed and grumpy. Days when I've wished I could just walk out of the door and be someone else, somewhere else.
Despite all the challenges, deep down I know that looking after Dad has been, and continues to be, the right option for me. Overall, I'm glad I've done it.
I've shared caring with my siblings and two wonderful carers. It's invaluable support without which this blog wouldn't be possible and my sanity would be under serious threat.
In addition to my caring duties I am an active member of Carers UK, Headway (the UK Brain Injuries Association) and volunteer with our local carer support service.