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Carers, Cared for, Carers Groups - Carers UK Forum

Carers, Cared for, Carers Groups

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Opinions are many and varied regarding the need for, the role of Carers Groups. Should they be solely for Carers? Should they Include the Cared for? Why is it hard to identify Carers, why do so many not see themselves as such? Your thoughts please?
I've been a member of a number of groups. Best was when M was young, lots of young mums with special needs children, all starting their journey as carers, sharing information, hints, tips etc. I miss the camaraderie. I haven't been to a carers meeting locally for a long time. My town has a high population of elderly, inevitably lots of carees with Alzheimers. As a 54 year old widow with a son with learning difficulties, I felt like a square peg in a round hole - the next youngest was about 70!! Many people just gradually slide into caring. Mums care for their babies, babies all need lots of care, but as the children get older, the differences emerge. Married couples care for each other, as part of their normal married life. It's only when one partner does almost everything and the other nothing that you really become a carer. Some people can't come to meetings unless their caree comes too, in my area the carers can go to one room and the carees go to another, a good compromise.
I'd say briefly - carers groups should be for carers, but divvied up into subgroups accordingto who they care for, otherwise, as BB indicates, some carers may feel square pegs! Maybe all the subgroups should meet together sometimes though, as there may be good ideas to share despite the difference in carees? Also, I know from simply posting here that my own 'problems' are tiny in comparison with what so many are enduring, and that helps me bear my own burden a little less moaningly!

I think BB's comment that sometimes carees have to come along too (but are then separated) is excellent. A carer's life is SO much not their own, that, ironically, if they had time to get to a carers group on their own then they wouldn't actually need the support of that group so much! And hopefully the carees also get an outing....

Finally, why do people seem reluctant to call themselves carers? Easy - fear and terror! It absolutely TERRIFIES me that I am become my MIL's carer! This time a year ago it never even entered my head - she was hale and hearty and independent. Now she isn't. My life is 'owned' by her and revolves around her completely - I can make no plans about anything, short term or long term, without thinking about the impact on my MIL (who isn't even living with me - but I have to visit constantly to keep her happy, poor soul!).

The description 'Carer' is therefore as terrifying to me as the description of 'Single Mother' which I became when I was widowed. I rejected both terms instinctively, however grimly true they are.
I think the money should be put towards disabled people themselves and that would help those of us who care for them - I see carers groups as pointless. Was a founder member of one in the early 90's which worked well until the "professionals" got involved and they started telling us what they thought we needed and didn't listen to those of us telling them what we wanted. I want the right to a life - not coffee mornings and hillwalking thank you very much.

I think carers often don't see themselves as such because they're looking after people that they love and there is a line between a certain amount of care that is 'normal' (ie, a parent will look after a child anyway, whether they are incapacitated in some way or not, and most of us would do favours and help out parents and other relatives, for example, so it's sometimes hard to see where the line is between doing what anyone else would do and what is 'extra' because of health care problems).

I've been to all manner of groups over the years - mum and baby, mum and toddler, special needs, carer, single parent and home education related and to be honest I've never found any of them any help. I don't have any care for my son so he has to come with me (and obviously you look a bit weird if you turn up to mum and baby groups on your own). He struggles with groups (he's autistic) so I have to work harder to help him manage and, because I'm usually the only parent engaging with their child (all the others are chatting and having coffee) I always used to end up with everyone else's kids as well. I remember being at one group and looking up to find I had nine children sat around me while I read a story to my son and all the other mums were standing over by the kitchen having a nice chat.

The home education group I went to was the unfriendliest I've ever encountered and I spent two hours standing in the garden on my own; I'd called before and explained my son's difficulties and there were other parents outside but no-one said a word to me and the two attempts I made to start a conversation were more or less ignored. I have a garden at home I can stand in on my own for two hours so I didn't bother going back.

The special needs/carers groups I've been to just left me feeling thoroughly depressed because everyone moans for two hours. I appreciate people need to vent but personally I want a couple of hours without talking or thinking about disability or caring every now and again. I'd love to listen to someone's tale of adventure or their wild and crazy night out, it would be more fun!

I've not been given information at any of them that I hadn't already got off the internet and I've never met anyone there who knew more about my situation and could do something to help in a practical way. I think that's the problem I find; I don't really want or need to talk about it, what would really help is a babysitter, some help with cleaning and gardening, someone else washing the car occasionally, that sort of thing.

I think the point, really, is that everyone has different needs and you need, therefore, a wide range of groups/support/services to meet all of them. And no-one does that because it costs too much!
it cant be that hard to identify carers when every day we are told we have some 6.5 million carers , someone has identified them ...
I think this number comes from the most recent census.
The Difference Between A Carer And A Career
The Differerence Between a Carer and a Career.jpg
The Differerence Between a Carer and a Career.jpg (90.18 KiB) Viewed 2983 times
The rights and voice of carers often go unheard and they become isolated and invisible. It should be recognised that as a carer you have the right not to continue to provide care for your loved one if you so choose, particularly when to do so would be detrimental to your own health and wellbeing. Elderly couples are particularly at risk from being pressurised by service professionals into providing unrealistic amounts of care for their spouses.

by Graphics On The Go
I have not visited a carers group as yet and wouldnt rule it out,however,planning a visit at set times could be an issue at times.Plus to ignored while there would not encourage me to visit again.....
David_0406 wrote:I have not visited a carers group as yet and wouldnt rule it out,however,planning a visit at set times could be an issue at times.Plus to ignored while there would not encourage me to visit again.....
Hiya David,

I'd always give it a go, if you can manage to get along. I've never been ignored at a carers' group, but one I went to everyone had to sit in a circle and then they went round the group asking everyone to explain their tale of woe - mortifying for me and I felt like I was at an AA meeting confessing to my situation or something!

Another one I went to was less formal than that, but I got my ear bent for two hours by a number of people who all, it seemed, had more help than I did but complained endlessly. LIke I say, when you're the one that needs to let off steam it's great to have a willing ear but when you're the one being expected to provide the ear it's less enjoyable!