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A Carers Story

December 4, 2018 12:00 PM

Our experience as carers looking after a family member in Suffolk Nursing home Norway Bjørkan CC BY-SA 3.0 (Thomas Bjørkan CC BY-SA 3.0)

Following our recent feature on the Carer's Rights Day at the end of November we received the following response from one of our readers...

"No matter how many carers rights days or other days, the role of the family carer is totally mis-understood, underfunded and in general ignored by the government. This is particularly so when the person cared for has mental health problems.

"Our experience of looking after a parent long term was a roller coaster, as over the years, support for the parent dwindled considerably; social workers having changed time and again. The last visit from a social worker proved that the unfortunate individual knew nothing of the health condition of our parent.

Several years ago the little help coming in to the home was cut as it was decided that all that was required was a meals on wheels service. There was little or no understanding and a total lack of concern for the real issues surrounding our parent's requirements.

Even the centre which our family member attended appeared to have no idea how to regulate and encourage the intake of fluids and ensure that meals were appropriate. This lead to an accumulation of physical and psychological problems which had a profound effect on us too. We did not eat together as it was essential that the main carer had to go to visit the our parent every day to ensure that all tablets were taken and fluid intake was kept to a high level as well as a good meal was taken every day.

Mental health services have declined over the years and in Suffolk are almost impossible to access. Social workers do not have the time or are moved on constantly, psychiatrists appear to be impossible to access. The care services are geared up to understand physical health and dementia but seem unable to grasp the need to cater for older people with other mental health requirements.

Norman Lamb MP is fighting for those with mental health problems and there are many groups trying to fill the widening gap but with lack resources within the NHS, lack of mental health nurses and GP training no progress can be made in this area.

Carers are not taken into consideration and have little to no rights to make decisions on the behalf of those with mental health problems. Without clear and intelligent action we are caught in a dead end regarding the best possible outcomes for those with mental health problems particularly the older the dependent is". End

There are around 7 million carers in the UK. That's one in ten people. And three in five people will be carers at some point in their lives.

DEMOCRAT POLICY IS TO ENSURE PARITY OF FUNDING AND RESOURCES BETWEEN PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH.

Lib dems Demand Better (Lib Dems)