National Carers Week

Published June 18, 2012 by swanfreddie

Today is the start of national carers weeks. Very few people will ever chose to become a carer it is something that just happens
It was mentioned to me when Freddie was still quite small that I could possibly claim disability living allowance(DLA) & carers allowance(CA) for him. I wasn’t convinced. Despite Freddie needing alot more care than what Evie did as a baby I still didn’t think it made me a carer.  I decided to apply for it anyway but wasn’t hopeful. The forms were very hard. Not just for the workload they require but they are also emotionally draining as it requires you to write everything about your child & their needs. Everything they can’t do.
A few weeks later we were awarded DLA & CA. I must admit I felt a bit like a fraud. Why should I be paid to be a mum? It just didn’t feel right. I think it was a bit of denial. I was convinced Freddie wasn’t disabled, despite all the meds & tube feeding & endless hospital trips. Whenever I was asked by people what I did for a living I would always respond with “oh, i’m just a stay at home mum”
The older Freddie has got the the more I have accepted that yes I am his carer. He needs me for everything. He needs 8 meds daily, he has no self help skills – feeding, dressing, toileting, he is still yet to crawl or walk so needs to be carried everywhere, he needs help with play, with therapy, with keeping safe, the list is endless. I have become his eyes, his ears, his legs & his arms.
Being a carer is a full time job but it is paid very poorly. £58 a week, £8.28 a day which works out to be about 34.5p an hour. Freddies respite is due to start soon, his carer will be paid over £10 an hour, which in my opinion is a fair wage for someone to care for my son. His needs are complex & hes hard going. I wouldn’t expect anyone to work for 34p an hour but people in my position have no choice. We can’t refuse to work due to poor pay & little time off, we have no choice.
While I still see myself as a mummy, my job is a carer. I hope this week by doing daily posts on what it’s like to be a carer it may help people understand a bit more about what people like me do for our 34p an hour.

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3 comments on “National Carers Week

  • I am totally with you feeling like a fraud. I did feel like that at first when we started to claim DLA and CA but after a while you realise it is an absolute pittance for the work carers do. There is also a situation where you can’t look to buy a property because you are ‘on benefits’ but you can’t afford to go back to work because the care costs would be so high that it isn’t worth your while. So carers get stuck in a rut with virtually no support financially, mentally or physically. Something has to change yet the people who should listen often don’t and carers usually have enough on their plate fighting for services they should be entitled to without having to think about challenging government policy at the same time.

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