Mark has cared for Michael, his adult son, for his whole life. Here he shares how the impact of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis has made his unpaid caring role even more challenging.
“I’m a carer in Caerphilly and I care for my 43 year old son Michael, who has complex needs and needs round the clock care. I have cared for him all his life, and know how important it is that carers are recognised and know how to get support.
“Being recognised as a carer would mean being acknowledged as someone who needs specific support and information in order to make the right decisions for my son.
"I care for my son with my wife, both alongside paid employment. This means that support services are critical in allowing us to be able to care. However, we just do not have the support that we need or that used to be in place. Before the pandemic my son could attend day services for thirty hours a week, now it is only six. This is a huge reduction and puts more obligation on myself and on other unpaid carers in my area.
"In addition, my son cannot regulate his own temperature and is incontinent. This means that we have to keep the house at a consistent temperature, no matter the weather. We also have to use the washing machine two or three times a day, as well as the tumble drier in the winter. As a result, our heating bills have risen substantially over the last year. This a substantial extra cost that we have no way of cutting down. We need to keep my son healthy and safe, but it is essential that we receive proper support to do so.
"It is vital that carers like me know where to turn for support, and that an adequate level of services are provided for those of need of them. This includes proper signposting, and making sure that carers know what they are eligible to claim and how to access it.
"Caring can be stressful and all-encompassing, so it is essential that councils and local organisations recognise the challenges."
With thanks to Mark and Carers UK for sharing this story.