Tag Archives: hospital

A warning: don’t give up your job to be an unpaid carer

While governments have always lavished praise on caring, they are less willing to reveal the harsh reality that awaits carers when the person they care for dies, says Peter Beresford

Warm words from policy-makers disguise the fact that there will be little help for carers when things get really tough, says Peter Beresford.
Governments talk up the UK’s army of unpaid carers as “unsung heroes”. It fits perfectly with the new ministerial jargon of “social capital”, “mutuality” and “big society”. But individual carers quickly learn what a harsh and lonely road they have to travel. Stalin cynically observed: “One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic.” For carers, perhaps the opposite is true. The estimated 6 million carers can expect warm words from policy-makers, but each knows there will be little help when things get really tough. Instead, it seems that policy-makers are bombarding them with more problems and barriers.

Take Joanna, middle-aged and working class. She has worked all her life while also looking after her mother, who had a long history of mental health problems. When her mother became seriously ill with cancer, Joanna had to give up work as a cleaner to take care of her at home. For the last few weeks of her mother’s life she claimed carer’s allowance.

After her mother died, Joanna was able to claim carer’s allowance for a maximum of eight weeks. Then she had to sign on at the job centre to receive jobseeker’s allowance (JSA). She had to prove she is looking for work by keeping a log of all her job hunts, including what newspapers she was checking, what advertisements she had answered and any interviews she had attended. She made desperate efforts to find a job but, it seems, an unskilled middle-aged woman has little attraction for today’s dwindling labour market.

In order not to lose her benefit, Joanna had to do two weeks’ temporary work in a local shop. A letter from the New Deal said she would be paid to do this at the rate of her JSA. But to work there she also had to pay – from her own pocket – for a uniform skirt and pair of black shoes.

Carers desperate that respite could be taken away

Carers desperate that respite could be taken away

By nadia stone nadia.stone@glosmedia.co.uk

DESPERATE carers who look after disabled children are devastated their only respite could be cruelly snatched away.

Tanya Cook cares for her 16-year-old son Jack who has a condition called tuberous sclerosis.

This means he has tumours in his brain, heart, eyes, and kidneys, as well as uncontrolled epilepsy and autism.

She has to help dress, shower and toilet him, as well as checking on him throughout the night because he frequently has seizures.

Herself unwell, the Quedgeley mum is “so exhausted” that she relies on The Meadows, in Dudbridge, Stroud, a home where Jack stays one night a week, to give her one night of rest each week.

Becoming a Carer

another poem from one of our members.

Becoming a Carer

I’m searching for myself
I used to be around
But now that i’m a carer
I just can’t be found

I used to be so different
Not worried and tired all the time
There are only so many hours in the day
And not many of them mine

I really miss my freedom
The fun and carefree days
A time when i knew who was
And not lost within this maze.

Myrna.

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