I was tempted to call this blog ‘I’m a carer get me out of here!’ but thought actually there are many positives to being a carer, but I won’t lie sometimes you do feel like this! When your growing up your dad or grandad, or even uncle are called this because for most of your childhood, and more and more into your 20s/30s they ‘care’ for you – feed you, buy you presents, support you from the side lines in whatever sport or hobby you love (and often finance it). Maybe help with your homework, apply for a job and many other things. Not many of us, including myself ever believed that one day in fact this role maybe reversed, and when I became a carer for my own dad, and in fact in many ways I became the ‘parent’ before I even had my own children. Was I trained for this, were you trained for this? Didn’t think so. You may feel you have your own specialism in work or life – a skill, expertise, passion but this is out of the window now you’re a carer!
I gave my job up, I moved back home, finished a relationship, but any regrets, no, I could spend some quality time with my dad and felt a bit like well you did loads for me. I remember vividly my dad could barely afford a car but every Sunday morning the car would have 4/5 boys all going to play football, and he was there, watched my swimming lessons, and still always called me Christopher (those with names that can be shortened know where I am coming from!).
Ups and Downs
So what was my experience of being a carer like – ups and downs – many interactions with female health and social care staff, feeling guilty when taking respite from care (it’s needed), being told by a hospital registrar (think that what he was!) that my dad was pretty much responsible for local bed blocking – I think the nurse with us at the time thought I was going to explode, bit my tongue! Actually, I got to take him down the pub, football matches and even Ireland for a long weekend – things I may have not done unless I was his carer. Actually the people who got this were my mates (all males) and my future wife. We need to support carers as they are often referred to as an ‘army’, without them I dread to thing what would happen within society, care for them as well as caring for who they look after. If we don’t the impact on health service, businesses and everyone will be detrimental.
Chris Hill, former carer and founder of Community Men2Men Buddying Ltd https://cm2m.co.uk/about/