This is it. I have had enough.
I have reached the end of my tether. As far as being a strong advocate of an unpaid carer I am no more. I am an ex-advocate carer. Ex-unpaid advocate. In fact ex- don’t care any more.
For many many years I have believed that one-day life would get better for carers. After all politicians have been banging on for even longer what a wonderful job these unpaid, unsung heroes do. Save the chancellor’s pocket millions of pounds. Almost as many as he doesn’t pay in taxes.
I have dragged David along to carers’ all day conferences. Whilst I have moved around ‘work shops’, which tell me, I can take advantage of ‘short breaks’ or win a holiday in X, Y and Z, he has tried to find somewhere comfy to park his broken body.
I have been to televised link- ups between Universities and carers, where every word spoken has created a cheer.
I have worked with groups wanting all carers to have health checks as a right. Doctor’s surgeries saying ” No we don’t do that’ and watching them about turn when money is offered.
I have been on strategy groups, working groups, scrutiny groups, focus groups and lunch at that hallowed ground of Murrayfield. They all have different names but mean exactly the same…committees.
Every time I have gone with that hope in my heart that there will be respite for us. Respite where our loved ones WILL be looked after in their own home. Respite that will give us a chance to do a bit of retail therapy with a friend, visit distant elderly relatives or attend the funeral of a much loved family member.
Every time, and I should have learned by now, they are words. Empty words. I did actually get excited as the West Coast ran a scheme whereby your loved one stayed with a family. These families had first hand experience of looking after disabled people. Nope excitement dashed. Only over 65’s were considered. David was far too young.
So the disillusion grew but still I persevered. After all there are some wonderful charities offering????
Ah yes. Training, information and news by the bucketful. Telling me of my carer’s ‘rights’ and how to get a carer’s assessment. I have had 7 in as many years. But not actually doing anything constructive to give my loved one or me a break.
I hit crisis recently and turned to our beloved social works. After all that is what they are trained for. Looking after the elderly, children and disabled in their community. That door slammed so hard it flattened my nose. I tried begging, pleading and almost bribing. Nope. The minimum of support was all they could offer in these ‘economic times.’
After the crisis eased somewhat and we were starting to get back to our usual wobbly keel I asked a few questions. Wrote dozens of letters. All to people I thought would not only be interested but would be horrified enough to help me change the attitude to unpaid carers. If I had had any nose left I wouldn’t any more. Every one I asked and every door I knocked on was firmly slammed again. These people, many of some standing in the community whilst sympathetic did nothing.
I was given plenty of advice whom, how and why to contact. I did all of that and more. I rang every number given often getting the same person but on a different number. I was told to complain to social works. Done that and waiting for the standard letter of ‘Sorry you feel…’
This is the ideal opportunity to show the cracks, bloody great ravines in the can’t help won’t help non-existent carers strategy. The one where we ask politicians for something, they go away change it, it comes back and we end up playing a game of tennis with carers as the balls.
Nope I have asked for help and been refused once too often. I don’t just mean social works or politicians either. They are the enemy and I can take then on. I mean those who profess to help advise and send out yet more information leaflets.
I will not be attending any of those groups. I will not speak out at Holyrood for carers any more. I will not listen to those grumbles and grievances of unpaid carers. Not really their fault but if those that claim to help us won’t then tough.
I have worn my ‘I support unpaid carer’s hat’ for the last time. I shan’t miss it one iota. The reason this has happened? Simples. Monkey and Grinder………………
…………………..to be continued