At a carers’ conference a man came to speak to me with his mother on his arm. He wanted to tell me his story.
In the year after his mother was diagnosed with dementia he had wondered why other people he knew were receiving benefits that he’d not been offered, including day care support and help in the house. It was only when he came to the carers group that he discovered that he was entitled to a carer’s assessment, which would have been the gateway to those local supports.
This man described how he had been put out of the room when his mother was being examined by the doctor...and the reason was given as “confidentiality”. “The consultation was not confidential,” he remarked. “It was SECRET.”
Caring does not sound like a lot of fun. A lot of what is written about carers describes the burden of caring. Of course, carers get ill and tired. Caring costs money and reduces the opportunities for earning.
It is vital to highlight the contribution that caring makes. Having a carer in the same house with you reduces the chance of having to go into a care home. This means that contribution of carers reduces the cost of dementia to the public purse and to the person being cared for.
We must not forget to celebrate the positive aspects of caring, where people find the experience life enhancing, and satisfying. In many cases caring is “love in action”.
So we need to do everything we can to help carers. Making sure that they at least achieve their entitlements is the least we can do. Get in touch with the carers you know and make sure they know what is available to them.
Read more about caring in Dementia the One Stop Guide