About a month ago, the Guardian featured an interview with Richard Cross, a volunteer Ambassador for Carers UK.
Richard has cared for his wife for almost 23 years. She has a mental health condition as well as arthritis and emphysema and consequently needs care every hour of the day. For 12 years Richard cared for his wife with no help at all. He wasn’t aware that there were services in place to assist him. And more frustratingly any social care professionals he came in touch with over this period didn’t suggest any ways that he could be helped.
Too good at caring?
Was Richard doing such a good job and showing no need for assistance. He obviously didn’t ask about assistance until he had spent two years trying to obtain a stairlift for his wife. This is when he became aware of a local carer’s support group. Within six weeks his wife had the stairlift she needed.
As an ambassador for Carers UK Richard is campaigning for ‘signposting’ so that those in need know where to get help and support.
There are actually 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK. Not all are looking after elderly marital partners some are looking after disabled children or young adults. Often they don’t like to ask for help and sometimes when they do they are either misunderstood or ignored.
Somewhere to turn
Carers UK is a charitable organisation that is there to help but not everyone knows about it. When you are giving 24 hour care you are often too exhausted to research things like this. They offer help and advice for the carer. This could be about benefits you’re entitled to as a carer to good nutrition to keep you healthy. Here’s a video about them.
A mine of information
The website is full of useful information including practical advice and details of local support groups. If there isn’t one in your area then you can join the online community to get support from others in a similar position.
Don’t suffer in silence like Richard was forced to do. If you need some help then ask for it, because it is there for you. If you want a quote for a stairlift then see our page on the costs of a stair lift here.