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10-16 June 2024

Norman gave up work to care for his wife Ros. This is their story.

"I am often asked when I realised, I had become a “Carer”. My answer is it crept up very slowly and I did not take on board what was happening until I broke down physically and was taken to hospital. I had sought help trying to get help in looking after Ros as looking after Ros was impacting my ability to work. Initially no help was offered, but when I was incapacitated, help was provided via social services.

"The balance scales were as Ros’ health declined, my caring load increased, until I reached the above tipping point.

"I/we had to decide, continue with my career, our main income source, or take on looking after Ros. It was at that point I was told “you are a Carer”, I did not want to be a “Carer”. I am Ros’ husband. However, it was obvious if I did not look after Ros, she would have to go to residential care. She did not want that. So, we made the decision to adapt to a life where I supported Ros to live the best life she could.

"However, it became obvious that being labelled a “Carer” had a meaning to the Health and Social Care System, in that you could get help via a Carers Assessment,

"I then entered on my trip through the health and social care system to get treatment for Ros and support for the both of us. It is a job of work and absorbs a lot of time and a great deal of energy. Too much of both. The main support for “Carers” comes from the voluntary sector and other “Carers”.

"My dearest wish is never to go to a meeting of “Carers”, where the words, fight, struggle, ignored are replaced with valued, supported and safe."

With thanks to Norman and Age UK for sharing this story.

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