Angela cares for her husband Terence. She describes her caring experience as absolutely soul destroying.
Who do you care for and how long have you been caring?
I've been caring for my husband Terence since late 2007.
Why do they need care?
Terence is a C3 partial Tetraplegic with a spinal cord injury following staph infection in 2007. He needs help with everything 24/7.
Describe your caring experience in 3 words...
Absolutely soul destroying.
How has your life changed since you became a carer?
I have had to give up a career that I was doing really well in, that I enjoyed, that earned me a Â£60,000 plus salary, that enabled me to travel the world. I have lost my freedom to choose what I do when I want to do it, even the amount of sleep I get is governed by my husband's needs. I find it very difficult to keep fit which has always been important to me.
What's the most important thing caring has taught you?
I thought the government and the medical profession would be there to help in times of trouble, having paid my National Insurance and taxes. There is no adequate safety net for people in the UK, they prefer to throw carers on a scrap heap as some sort of collateral damage.
What advice would you give to other carers?
I would say WALK AWAY, but I know they can't because, like me, they love the person they care for so much. So be prepared to say goodbye to a life, namely YOURS.
What do you want to see changed for carers?
- I want to be able to bring authorities to account when they fail in their legal duty to provide careworkers.
- That care agencies be better regulated and their staff properly rewarded for what is a very demanding job.
- That family carers do not lose their only benefit just because the person they care for has gone into hospital for longer than one month.
- That Carer's Allowance is set at a more realistic amount and recognises the contribution carers make to the UK.
- That carers get help & support to get into appropriate housing for the needs of the person they care for.
- That no one should feel forced to give up work.
- That GPs make a genuine effort to safeguard the health of carers and have the power to bring other agencies to account if it is their failings that are causing problems.