‘Charity saved our marriage and life’

The strain of caring for a loved one with dementia nearly ended our marriage.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Citizen

LOVING wives who care for their husbands with dementia say the strain almost ended their marriages.

But they were all brought back from the brink by a support group run by Brunelcare.

  1. SUPPORTED: Barbara and Peter Kiddle at the Kimbrose Lunch Club.

The charity helps carers across Gloucester, letting them take time out, share concerns and get advice.

Members of its Kimbrose Lunch Club have opened up about their personal struggles and how the club has transformed their lives.

They spoke out to raise awareness as part of National Carers Week, which ended yesterday.

There is no full register of carers in the county but research suggests there are up to 61,500 in Gloucestershire.

Of those, only 9,800 are known to receive carer services from charities or the county council.

Barbara Kiddle, 66, said Brunelcare’s fortnightly lunch club has been a “lifeline” for her and husband Peter, 86.

Rock bottom

He was diagnosed with mild frontal lobe dementia two years ago.

The Quedgeley couple have been married 30 years and Peter is a former high-flying scientist who worked on the Concorde project in the 1960s and was a senior lecturer at Gloucester College.

These days he struggles to remember everyday facts and also suffers from motor neurone disease.

Barabara said she hit “rock bottom” under the strain of caring for him.

She said: “We were struggling and didn’t know who to turn to or what to do.

“We had the diagnosis and there was nothing else. No support.

“Brunelcare saved our marriage and life.

She added: “They take care of the person you love so you can break away for a little while and cry or laugh.”

Laura Pocha had to close her business after husband Farrokh, 85, was diagnosed with mixed dementia in 2009. The 66-year-old said the Government should do more to support carers. The former hairdresser ran a wig consultation service for cancer patients but gave it up to care for Farrokh.

She said: “Our lives have changed considerably. Society doesn’t understand the role of a carer. They just think it’s someone who looks after you and don’t realise the depth of caring necessary. We save the Government in the region of £80 billion a year so we should be better looked after.”

A spokesman for Gloucestershire County Council said it works with NHS Gloucestershire and about £2.78million is spent a year to support carers.

The money funds a number of organisations, including Brunelcare, which provide services including information and advice, support groups, developing coping skills, flexible breaks and specialist young carers support.

The council also funds the Carers Emergency Scheme and the Positive Caring Programme.



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