I have recently been asked to help develop a training resource for social workers for a local authority. I am to give a fifteen minute interview in response to four questions. I was sent the questions in advance so I could plan my responses. They really made me think. They are not hard. Let me share them and my planned answers with you.
- Give me one word that sums up your caring role.
It was the first word that came to mind and it is the one that stayed. Physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting.
2. What are the positives of your caring role?
Doing things together we would probably never have got round to like visiting Iceland, tracing the family history, decluttering the house, getting physically fit, going for a walk just because we can.
I can think of lots of positives. Planning them all is part of the exhaustion. I have to plan them, do them and help my husband do them. The planning has to be more detailed to take account of his limitations and the finances are not brilliant. I am having to learn about so many new things all the time. This week was pre-amps on phono inputs to aux ports on stereos so he can play his LPs while he still can.
3. Briefly tell me how your caring role impacts your daily life.
It is my daily life! I am a carer from the time I get up till the time I go to bed. It impacts on where I go, when I go, how I go. It impacts on what I eat and when I eat. It impacts on the time I can spend with friends and when that can be. It impacts on what I can wear because of the finances and how I look. I am a carer.
If I didn’t love the man I could probably just continue to work, pay someone to sit with him and let him quietly disappear into the dementia but that is not who I am, that is not who we are. We have fought so much adversity in our married life, We are not about to stop now.
4. What advice would you give a social worker before they come out to visit a carer?
Not sure I can give general advice but if they were visiting me I would say please don’t treat me like I am stupid. I don’t need to be patronised. I don’t need that sugary voice saved for old ladies and children. I am a fully functioning adult who happens to be married to a man with dementia. I do need to get out more but that hasn’t dulled my intellect, please don’t assume it has.
Not sure how this session is going to go. It could be very interesting.