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Carers I interview - Page 4 - Carers UK Forum

Carers I interview

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
112 posts
Strictly speaking, Parsifal is right that George has made a choice. Whether it is a Hobson's choice, the lesser of two evils, or whatever, George could in theory have said "I'm not doing it." He has the legal right to do so and has elected not to exercise that right.

Vicky's right too that sometimes the choices available are rubbish.

But the lady described by Excalibur is a carer by the legal definition used by social services. The Carers Allowance definition is useless because so few people claim it, far fewer than are entitled to, and because it only really applies to people of working age in practice. For starters it completely excludes young carers, anyone living away from the person they care for because of the effect it has on their benefits, and many pensioners who do not qualify for or have not applied for Pension Credit. And when the government scraps Pension Credit, who knows what will happen to them? Presumably by the DWP definition they won't be carers any more. Which is of course total rubbish.

No single definition is adequate but the government's definition for carers in terms of social care is someone who provides (or intends to provide) substantial care on a regular basis. The "intends to" refers to situations where someone is going to need to care - for example on discharge from hospital, or where their previous carer within the family is handing over responsibility to another family member.

It doesn't set target hours: the government talks about the impact the caring has. By law the authorities have to consider the rights of the carer to have a Mars Bar life - "work, rest and play" - or more seriously, to work, receive an education and to have a break from caring. The carer exampled by Excalibur has managed that and I for one applaud the fact.

It doesn't mean that every carer can do it though, and we all have to recognise that.
I have no doubt some people are offered no choices or support in their caring situation but at the end of the day no one is holding a gun to our heads. The three Yorkshireman sketch is very apt Image I am fortunate to get the support I have which isn't perfect but there are ways and means of resolving problems. There are a minority of people on the forum who seem to think that being hard done by ( as they see themselves) makes them morally superior to the rest of us. I also think that sneering at carers who are better off is just plain resentment and nothing to do with injustice.
I think one of the difficulties of being a carer at the heavy end is that the opportunities for a break are few and far between and the chance to offload is limited. And when you're stressed it's difficult to see other viewpoints. Especially if you can't get support in the way you want or need it. Or feel that you can't.

So the internet is a great place for offloading. Occasionally, though, it does sound rather like the Python sketch ("living in a wet paper bag..."), and I remember hearing conversations like it as a youngster when our neighbours came round for Sunday coffee (Sunday coffee was made with milk, the rest of the week with water).

Some carers cannot work because the service options available to them are too limited. Whether cases like Birmingham will change that, who knows?

Some carers can work. Working kept me sane (although some would doubt that) at a time when caring was driving me down a very dark alley. Something I rarely talk about and won't go into here. There are times though that working and caring is a major pain and more stress than it's worth, especially when both are really at a fever pitch. Believe me, it's not an easy option.

But it doesn't make working carers any more worthy of applause than anyone else. It just makes them carers with a different set of options.
Sorry Dragnonlady,
I will defend George on this one. Caring for a frail and elderly person is NOT a choice for many of us! We are all in it together when it comes to caring however; some have it better than others and it just highlights the injustice.

Sorry, caring is a choice whatever the age of the person in need of care, although I suspect that caring per se is not what Dragonlady was referring to. No-one is forced to care, not everyone is able or willing to take on the role and not everyone does. And there are times when it is in the best interests of the person being cared for or those of their carer to receive care from outside agencies or in a residential setting, in which case choosing not to care is the best choice. Neither are all services poor or bad, some are excellent and whilst they cannot provide the one-to-one care which we are able to provide this does not mean that they are not a viable or, in some situations, even the best option.

As for some "having it better than others" being perceived as an "injustice", does any one of us really know why one person receives a service and another does not? It could be that, for example, their caree's needs are substantially greater or that the carer has other demands which make caring particularly difficult or the carer themselves is in poor health, there are countless reasons why one person may receive services and another not, in which case describing it as "having it better" or an "injustice" is not really an appropriate description is it?

Why do stories of people who have found services that work for them or who have managed to organise their lives around caring result in so much negative feedback? We do not have to be victims using past negative personal experiences and/or other people's negative experiences to colour our opinions and our lives. Perhaps it is worth acknowledging that the lady in the first post, for all her good fortune and wealth, will have had to have made the effort to make the resources available to her work for her and her family, she too could have stayed at home and cared but chose to combine care with work as many other carers do albeit not all with the same resources to draw on.
Dare I suggest that one can still be carer even when a loved one is in residential care. I know many people who go to great lengths, distances and expense visiting and tending to the needs of their loved ones who no longer can remain at home.
In some circumstances it's possible - and perfectly legal - to claim Carers Allowance while the person you care for is in residential care.

Either way, you may not be providing as much care as you did, you will still be involved in caring for that person - sometimes hands on.
I have made the decision, personally, to return to paid work, hopefully this year. I met up with a wonderful representative from Action for Carers and Employment yesterday. Together, we have formed an action plan. I am hoping to start voluntary work in the next few weeks, will be going on a course or two. I aim to be in paid employment by September - both of my daughters will be out of the house by 8am, not back until way after 4pm. My Partner is also going to do the same thing.

I have never really been personally happy about living on benefits - as I'm discovering, it's a minefield - but it has been a necessary evil and one that I'm going to have to stomach until, hopefully, September. Arranging adequate care for two autistic daughters, both with differing levels of need, would have cost me an entire salary, even with working tax credit. For 3 years, it was just me. The practicalities, the logistics, I would have needed to literally split myself in half. Image

Now? My partner and I have very little practical support. We don't have a huge amount of respite. Caring is 24/7, especially during school holidays. The hardest thing, as said before, is the isolation. Days of no contact with any other human being at all, really.

I've reluctantly decided to have a Carer's Assessment too, so will see how that goes.

I can see every single point of view here and understand every one of them. OK, my view may be a simplistic one but we are all carers. Just because the woman Excalibur mentioned in the OP may not be hands on, she is still the one organising the care. However, not everyone is in her position. The level of alternative care on offer is patchy. I remember some of the care my late Grandmother received in certain establishments (she had Alzheimer's Disease) was horrendous. In one location, she mysteriously broke her leg Image Mum did eventually find the ideal location for her. Even then, she had to fight to keep her there (they wanted to move her again).

My viewpoint, again simplistic, is why does everything always have to be a fight? Why can't we be looked at as human beings, not just service users?

Sezzie.
Hi Sezzie,

I hope you dont mind me asking but where can I contact the carers for employment.
It's quite simple really Excaliburs lady is satisfied that the care arrangements are good and George is not and that's where the choice comes in ie if George seen good care which is funded then he has a choice, rubbish care is NOT a choice for a loved one.
Vicky
Hi Sezzie,

I hope you dont mind me asking but where can I contact the carers for employment.
Hi Chinarosie Image

I'm in Surrey and the organisation covers all of Surrey only but do you have a Carers Support Group where you are in the West Midlands? If so, have a chat with them - they would be able to point you in the right direction. Image

Sezzie
112 posts