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SOS - Carers in Scotland - Carers UK Forum

SOS - Carers in Scotland

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.

I wonder if there is anyone who can give me some advice on any help that is available in Scotland?

I've been somewhat caring for mum for a long time, but it is only since her dementia diagnosis 2 years ago that I have had to take over all the decision-making for her and I'm now entirely responsible for her health and welfare. I'm single and my only other family members live 500 miles away.

When mum got out of hospital after being diagnosed with vascular dementia, there was a community psychiatric nurse coming out at least once a week, and she saw a psychiatrist every month. There was also a trained professional coming out once per week to take her out to a specific activity.

Over the past two years, the help seems to have dwindled away. The psychiatric nurse stopped coming to see her, her psychiatrist appointments were reduced to once every 6 months, and the trained care assistant has been replaced by a volunteer who comes out sporadically.

The only other help offered was a home help (which I think would be counterproductive because mum would freak out if a stranger was cleaning the house) and a possible one day a week at a day centre (mum refuses point blank to go).

My mum is receiving absolutely no treatment, and I am finding it hard to cope.

I feel exhausted. Between work and my caring responsibilities, life seems full of stress and sadness and I feel utterly without support. I'm tearful and tired in private, but in public I put on a positive face. I keep thinking I am going to have to give up work. I don't enjoy the company I work for, but the thought of being unemployed fills me with fear. I could possibly do freelance work from home, but I'm not sure if that would work out.

I can't find any information on what help me/mum are entitled to. All the info I find is aimed at England, but can anyone give me any ideas of what I can ask for in scotland?
It seems your concern is mainly about your mum's health. Her GP should be the first port of call- Scots Law recognises primary carers and the GP should take on board what you have to say if you think her condition is getting worse and needs more help or better treatment. If your mum is over 60 personal care is free of charge ( including meal preparation but not housework). It sounds as if your mum needs a care attendant to help her. Her GP should arrange for a reassessment which should include a carers assessment. What you get offered really boils down to where you live I'm afraid- each LA and heath board has it's own criteria. Try your local carers centre - I don't know what part of Scotland you are in but there should be one not too far away. They will know what is available locally to you and will help you and offer support.
Good advice. I would add that it is vital to request a Carers Assessment from Social Work for yourself, and to be firm that you wish to stay in employment and need proper back up to enable this to happen. I also cared for an elder with dementia, here in North Lanarkshire, and found excellent support: a day centre three days a week with transport provided from the door, minimal charges for lunch only, and at flexible times to suit our needs. Plus help with benefits and residential nursing home respite for around eight weeks a year. If you dont ask, firmly and pleasantly, then you wont get, its that simple.

Try not to give up paid work, bear in mind that you may be able to drop your hours and wage to £100 a week (after deductions for tax, national insurance care costs, work-related expenses and pension deductions) and claim Carers allowance of £55: it can be made to work but it isnt ideal. And its well worth getting help to check your mum is getting her full benefits too.

In terms of low mood, I have found swimming and fast walking always lifts my spirits - any form of exercise releases endorphins which are literally "feel good" drugs that flood the brain. Yeah!!
Hi there

Sorry to hear things are so tough. I agree with the replies given so far, you need to get in touch with the Social Work department and get assessed. Although the law is different in Scotland essentially you have the same rights in England - your mum can be assessed, you can have a carer's assessment, you can access direct payments. There are some important legal differences but for the most part you should still be able to get help in the same way. Whether it is Scottish law or English law - a carers assessment should flag up the risk to your employment (and your wellbeing) and support you. All the info in the Help and Advice section of this website is generally applicable to scotland and if it is majorly different we say so.

Here are a few ideas from me

1) Direct Payments are a way for you to the cash to make your own care arrangements. For a booklet on Direct Payments covering Scotland call our Scotland office 0141 221 9141 or email info@carerscotland.org

2) If you do call our scotland office it'll be worth having a general chat and and see if they have any pointers. 0141 221 9141 I know they have done a lot of work promoting telecare (alarms etc) for carers so you could ask about that.

3) Our Carers UK advice line is the only one that covers the entire UK. It's on 0808 808 7777 wed & Thursday.

4) Workplace rights are the same across the UK - have a read of this advice for people thinking of givign up care http://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice ... and-career

5) You can find out if there are Carer Support organisations in your area using our directory here
http://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice ... 4-scotland

All the best