Skip to the content
10-16 June 2024

Kate has been a carer for ten years, first for her dad and then her mum Nina who has heart failure and vascular dementia. Supporting Nina to live independently in her own bungalow whilst coordinating her care is a huge responsibility for Kate who works hard to ensure her mum feels “safe, cared for, loved and can trust the people looking after her.”

As Nina’s care needs developed, Kate found it difficult to find an agency to provide the care required and now uses a team of 5 to 6 private care workers who come in three times a day costing £2,500 a month. The cost of this, taken from savings and pensions is a big financial worry for Kate who says there “isn’t a bottomless pit of money.”

Although care workers flag health concerns, Kate takes overall responsibility for Nina’s care – calling the GP, being there when they visit her mum and at times, taking her to hospital. She does her mum’s shopping, collects medications, and arranges activities out – a trip to the day centre or a lunch club – to give her the best quality of life possible.

“We did have agency care at various points, and it was just awful,” said Kate. “They didn’t come at the right times, didn’t follow the care plan, and wouldn’t provide additional cover where needed. They were always messing up, which I had to sort out.

“When you love someone, you can’t just abandon them. Thank goodness I have been able to advocate for my mum, because it feels like nobody really cares. The buck stops with me all the time, which has had an impact on me. A lot of attention goes on the person being cared for (and rightly so) but there have been times when I’ve felt like saying ‘hello, I’m drowning’.”

Kate works for the NHS and feels lucky to have supportive line managers who allow her to take the time off she needs to – often last minute. However, she has had to drop down to 4 days a week to juggle work and care, and feels that her caring responsibilities have impacted career progression.

“I haven’t got the headspace because it takes a huge amount of mental energy keeping on of top of everything for mum,” Kate said. “One time my mum was discharged from hospital although I told them she wasn’t well. I was left to deal with the situation. I think being a carer is one of the hardest things you can do. The support from the system just isn’t there.

“Even if you’re able to get support, it costs a fortune and often the quality isn’t good. Until care is properly valued, paid and viewed as something of worth, this is the situation we’re going to have.”

With thanks to Kate and Carers UK for sharing this story.

Back to carer's stories Back to carer's stories
Back to top