The Rector writes
A syndrome that I have seen many times in thirty years in parish ministry is the situation of an elderly couple, one of whom has a seriously restricting condition, with the other being their main carer. Although the carer is relatively healthy, the carer’s self-esteem and self-care is neglected because all caring is directed at the cared-for person.
The carer ‘soldiers on’ and both end up in hospital, separated. As an observer, there is a limit to what I can say, because the devotion of a couple who have been married for many years and who have been through great adversity together may see no alternative to their current arrangement.
Alongside the isolation of a carer in this situation, there may also be unresolved matters concerning household finance, benefits that the couple are entitled to but which they are not claiming, worsening physical condition of the home and other trauma.
Those who care for the carers will say: ‘Take a break for a while every day and go for a walk; take a respite break with the cared-for person having residential care for a week; come to a charity that cares for carers and allow yourself to be cared for.’
Last year in October a ‘Caring for the Carers Service’ was held at St.Mary’s Church on a Sunday afternoon, and we will do the same again. This year it will be on Sunday 21st October at 3pm followed by tea & biscuits in the Parish Hall.
Last year, most people who came to the service had been carers, and they took the safe setting of the service and the tea afterwards to reflect on the experience of having been a carer. If you are a carer, and can find someone to look after the person you care for for a couple of hours, come to the service on 21st October.
Or, if you have been a carer in the past, come to the service to reflect on that experience.
Where to go for help:
Carers Trust: Action, Help, Advice. https://carers.org/article/charities-supportcarers
Carers UK: https://www.carersuk.org/
Mind. How to cope when caring for someone else: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/helping-someone-else/carers-friends-family-coping-support/#.W1czgtJKhkg