When Good Enough is Good Enough

When Good Enough is Good Enough

It’s amazing how quickly a day can go pear-shaped, as what I’d hope to achieve evaporates in the face of unplanned events. It can happen to anyone, of course.  The baby that keeps you up all night teething.  The train that gets inexplicably cancelled.  The colleague that calls in sick.  The coffee cup that spills all over your white shirt just before you go into an important meeting (yes, that was me).  We aren’t as in control of life as we’d like to think. 

But disrupted plans and frustrated expectations seem to happen to me more as a carer than they ever did before.

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Talking to Ghosts

Talking to Ghosts

At the latest meeting of our local Carers’ Support Group we were joined by a new member who is caring for someone with dementia.  As we talked, it became clear that they were struggling.  Some of their friends and neighbours had “disappeared” since the dementia diagnosis was made and didn’t visit or keep in touch anymore.  The person admitted that they felt lonely.

Fortunately, I have great support and loneliness is not an issue for me.  Nevertheless, the person’s comments struck a chord.

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We're Lucky.... But We Shouldn't Be

We're Lucky.... But We Shouldn't Be

We’re lucky.  Really lucky.  We have a wonderful local carer (take a bow Lorna!) who comes in every weekday morning to get Dad breakfasted, washed, dressed and up and about.  Dad enjoys her company and it’s time out for me.  Winners all round.

Lorna is paid through the Self-Directed Support Scheme (SDS). Under SDS our family is given money by our local Health and Social Care Partnership to employ our own carer.  The carer is chosen by us and works the hours that we want (within our designated budget). 

It’s designed to be flexible, responsive to the individual’s needs and to put the individual and their family in control.  In principle, it’s a sound idea – but there’s one major flaw.

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Money Matters

Money Matters

I really don’t want to count up just how much money it’s cost me to be a full-time carer.  If you add the money I’ve taken out of my cash savings to potential lost earnings in the last four years, you are easily talking around £45,000 - £50,000 and frankly, that’s being conservative.  

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Knitting Saved My Life!

Knitting Saved My Life!

I spend a lot of time with Dad just sitting.  Sometimes I’ll be reading out stories from the newspaper or a magazine.  Sometimes we’ll be watching a TV programme together.  Sometimes I’ll just be keeping him company while he rests or has a wee snooze. 

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Carers - A Silent Army

Carers - A Silent Army

According to Carers UK statistics there are 6.5 million carers in the UK.  That’s more than the population of Scotland, where I live.  It’s more than the populations of Wales and Northern Ireland combined.  It’s even more than the audience who settle down on Sunday evenings to watch the new series of Poldark.

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