The life of a carer
I have recently gone to a number of meetings to support carers or the cared for. When facing a meeting or contact with either health or social care, individuals and carers in particular are already stressed.
I have heard a statistic from the Alzheimer’s Society that within a year of diagnosis of a dementia, 85% of carers are clinically depressed. I’ve also heard that it is around 50% in the USA. Statistics aside, carers are usually stressed and struggling. They are struggling just to cope that their loved one is not well. Dealing with that is enough! Then add onto that another issue / problem and they can easily feel that they can no longer cope. And these issues happen all the time, things will be fine for a while, and then the person gets ill or has a fall or has a financial issue. Some of these issues can be resolved, but when someone gets ill, sometimes all the carer can do is hold their loved one’s hand and / or cry! The life of a carer is tough!
I love this work, helping and supporting carers. When I get involved in this kind of situation, I can support the carer to ensure that the latest issue that has arisen can be resolved and positively. The carers love having someone on their side, I am not neutral in the situation. And the carers have that sense that someone has empathy for them and also that they are not alone battling against whatever is happening.
Sadly, all too often, no-one can stop that person from being unwell and often they are deteriorating. It isn’t great to watch a loved one slipping away over a period of months or years. As sad as it is, it is not something that can be stopped, so my message is to be realistic about that. Don’t aim to keep them alive, as eventually we all die. And don’t aim to stop them from deteriorating, if they have a deteriorating condition, it will happen and you cannot stop it. My message is that you can keep them happy and as safe as is achievable. If you’ve done that, you’ve done a good job.
My message to all carers is: Well done, you’re doing a good job. Thank you.