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New Member: Caring for Carers? - Carers UK Forum

New Member: Caring for Carers?

Take part in research or give your opinion in a survey.

I am a new member and joined over the weekend. I have read many posts on the forum and like others is filled with posts from dedicated carers from across the country.

I think the work you all do day in day out should be recognised. I am currently researching in the area of mental illness and specifically carers. I have found that not all carers are offered support in the way of therapy or interventions from the NHS even though it is suggested by guidelines that they should receive just as much support as the people they are caring for.

My research is based around to idea of listening to carers responses to certain situations put to them, that they may have experienced as a carer and using this to reduce the relapse in service users.

Would anyone be interested in participating in this worthy cause?

Thank You for taking time to read this Image
I've been a carer for 32 years. 5 members of my family have been entitled to highest rate DLA (one steadfastly refused to claim!) and my sister in law had post natal depression, so I had the child for 4 months as well.

At the moment just 2 are left, one isn't too much of a problem but I'm having HUGE problems in relation to the other one. After a life threatening illness I'm supposed to be living "a stress free life in the slow lane" to prolong my own life. No chance of that under the current circumstances. Aware that I was on the brink of a breakdown, and comfort eating as a result, my GP told me to a) Stop putting so much in my mouth b) go and see a private counsellor at £25 per hour. Nothing was available to me on the NHS. I'm just a slave to everyone else, no chance whatsoever of a life of my own.
Thanks for replying to my post, I am sorry to hear about your circumstances.

From what you've told me its unbelievable to think that the NHS can offer nothing in terms of emotional support to you. Today I read the Carers Strategy (2008), a proposal that the government put forward as a recognition of the importance in carers in society and for country.

Their idea was to enable carers to be recognised a fundamental part of the family and society as a whole.

They stated that the money for this vision would be invested into GPs and hospitals in order for them to be able to emotionally support carers such as yourself. Three years later and this doesn't seem to be working.

What sort of support do you think would benefit you in your circumstances?
I've had a particularly hard few years, I had a kidney removed having been diagnosed with kidney cancer, I found my husband dead in bed from a massive heart attack (GP said the problems with his left arm were caused by arthritis!). Three months later I was hit head on whilst driving his Range Rover, it was shortened by 2 feet and written off. Prior to the accident I could walk 10-15 miles a day, now I can only just walk, I've had one total knee replacement and the other one will be done as soon as my garage has been converted to a downstairs bedroom. My kidney specialist told me that I MUST put myself first, NOT care for others any more, NOT get stressed. Less than 24 hours after being discharged I had to go to my mum's house because ther carers had accidentally locked themselves out and the spare keys couldn't be found!!

The Local Government Ombudsman is now investigating the maladministration of the local authority and the care providers for my son. The previous care providers are in the process of sueing my son and I for not paying for his care - absolutely not true. They actually raised two different accounts for the same period, and I can prove it.

I'm unable to walk properly, unable to work because of the pain - I live on my husband's life insurance money which was supposed to be for my old age. I have a large garden which I can't look after, so my eldest son and his partner have now moved in to look after me and the garden but still I'm caring for my other son when he comes home at weekends.

I'm a very capable person (just had my 7th invite to be a local councillor) and I'm so unbelievably fed up. Once I've had the second knee replacement I know things will get better but it will be at least a year before things improve significantly.

Having saved the state so much money by caring for six relatives in need of help, and I've paid privately for both my kidney and knee ops, I thought that it was reasonable to ask the NHS for counselling. The GP said "it's just not available. I've given you the name and address of the counsellor, what more do you expect me to do?!

When I complained, he tried to get me to leave the practice! He's relatively new, my old GP retired last year. I've been with the practice since 1968, so I'm probably one of their most loyal patients. I'd just like someone to "offload" to and support me a bit. Obviously too much to ask in this day and age.
bowlingbun, If you want counselling, get in touch with your local carer's association - a lot of these guys do it for free and without the excuses you get from your GP
When my caree got clinical depression and anxiety (had them for approx 9 months), the NHS just assumed that friends & family could rally round (and would have the time to do so). The NHS also assumed that friends & relatives would know exactly what to do without needing any advice whatsoever.

Wrong on both counts. The local NHS mental health clinic was wonderful for treating & supporting outpatients, but not for helping friends & family to at least not hinder recovery.

When my caree became longterm physically sick and failed to recover, the same assumptions were made. Out of necessity, I had to quickly teach myself herbal medicine, remedial massage, pain relief, basic immunology and several other things which IMHO nobody should have to learn within a few months.

Don't get me wrong - his GP was wonderful and did all she could within her remit, but that was as far as it went.

*Sorry, just trying to make the point that carers of people with physical illness or disabilities sometimes get let down in the same way as carers of people with mental illnesses or learning disabilities.