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Have you ever been a carer?


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#1    Bling

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 05:19 PM

Has anyone here had any experience with being a carer to a famliy member? If so how did it affect your life?

In the past, from the early age of 11, I was a carer to a mentally ill mother and my nan who had alzheimer's. It made me mature emotionally very quickly but also was a huge burden which I found very stressful and upsetting. It took up a huge part of my childhood but I didn't have a choice did I? I don't resent it, I didn't know better at the time - it was just life! Should family members be the primary carers for their ill families or should the governent do more to help?


#2    Eldorado

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 05:23 PM

Yes.. a few years ago, looking after my mother.  I had to leave else I'd be wearing prison jammies right now.

Families should look after their kin with government assistance if needed, imho.  :)  Kids shouldn't be the main care provider though.. no way, Jose.  That's two lives being wasted.

Edited by Eldorado, 09 September 2012 - 05:26 PM.


#3    Kaikou

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 05:59 PM

I've recently stopped caring for my dad. (he's healthy and almost back to normal now). I will be honest, it was quite a burden. I don't regret doing it though.
When I was caring for him my social circle went down to 1 or 2 people. In the long run though, caring for him helped me in a lot of other ways.
Now I have a lot more patience, can cope easier in stressful situations and I just have more confidence in general.

Also. Yes I think the government should do more to help. My dad was receiving disability allowance, but not high enough for me to get carers allowance.
So ultimately our income went down during my caring for him.


#4    Star of the Sea

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 06:01 PM

Yes I've been a carer to my twin sis before she died. I'm now caring for my elderly mum. It's tough as I have my girls and grandson at home to look after, even though they can look after themselves, you know mum ends up doing everything!  Plus I feel responsible for my late twins kids who are in their mid twenties but were only teenagers when she died, so I'm like their mum too. So all in all life can be very hectic but I wouldn't change a thing. My mum needs me now to do her shopping, household cleaning, taking her to hospital appointments etc and I'm there unconditionally for her. I worry though as she is very frail now and as to how long can she stay in her own home. I don't think for one moment she would come to my house when she can no longer stay on her own. I have discussed this with her, that she will always have a home with me, but I think that would be a nightmare for her as my house is mad crazy with noise and with all the activity. So I don't know what the future holds and it is a worry.

One thing that bugs me is how the elderly really don't get much support here in the UK to stay as long as possible in their own homes. A couple of years ago my mum was knocked down crossing the road and was badly hurt. Even though we were doing shifts round the clock when she came home from hospital, social services came to help but we still had to pay for this service!

I don't want ever to be a burden to my kids when I'm old but having said that I don't ever want to put my mum in a home. I will just have to wait and see how she goes on and face whatever comes.

Edited by Star of the Sea, 09 September 2012 - 06:18 PM.

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#5    Bling

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 06:04 PM

I'm also a carer for my fiance who has agoraphobia, depression and anxiety. But in return he cares for me as I have a whole list of mental disorders! We get money to care for each other, but it doesn't feel like a burden or job because we love each other and give each other a reason to carry on with life when things are tough.


#6    Star of the Sea

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 06:15 PM

View PostBling Zombie, on 09 September 2012 - 06:04 PM, said:

I'm also a carer for my fiance who has agoraphobia, depression and anxiety. But in return he cares for me as I have a whole list of mental disorders! We get money to care for each other, but it doesn't feel like a burden or job because we love each other and give each other a reason to carry on with life when things are tough.

Well Bling, that' so good that you have one another! That is true love :wub: :tu:

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#7    Still Waters

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 12:02 AM

I've been a carer for my mother-in-law, she had dementia, bad too. She couldn't do anything for herself. I wasn't her prime carer, her husband was, but he had bad health himself so they both needed looking after. My mother-in-law had a carer coming in every morning to get her up, bathed etc., but that was it, no other official help until it was acknowledged how much strain my father-in-law was under. So then they started with another carer coming in in the evenings to get her ready for bed. Their house had stairs and he could barely go up and down them due to his heart which eventually killed him. After he died the family put her in a care home where she died a few years later.

My own mother who is elderly lives by herself since my father died. She is diabetic but thankfully keeps quite well considering her age. If anything is wrong with her I go and stay with her until she's better.  For a while now I've been seeing big changes in her and since my brother died many years ago, I am her next of kin. I know she can't live forever and it worries me what will happen to her too.

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#8    Professor T

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 12:51 AM

I've been carer on & off for probably a decade.. When I was a young my grandmother lived with us, and whenever Mum & dad needed a break I helped keep an eye on her while they went out. Mum had a very bad Hip, and ended up needing a lot of help as well, then Mum passed away 2 years ago, and it took me a year to leave work and decide to look after Dad full-time..
Right now I'm looking after my dad, has memory lapses, poor mobility..
I get government assistence help $250 a week to survive on. But if I made a call to send dad to a home they would get $1000 PW.. Where's the justification in that?

One thing I've noticed with looking after the elderly is they don't like change. Respite care in a home gives the carer a beak, but the elderly come back very disorientated, and it just makes life harder for the carer in the long run. Even short spells in hospital left Mum & dad differen when they returned, less sure of themselves, less capable of looking after themselves.. I think the governements should do more to help financially, and help the families support their loves ones in their homes.. Farming them off to rest homes doesn't help at all IMO.


#9    and then

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 01:11 AM

I have so far not been placed in that situation but I have great respect for anyone who has taken on the responsibility.  It is one of the reasons that I fully support assisted suicide.  I never want to be placed in a situation where I become such a burden, either to people who love me or, worse, people who's job it is to care for me.  I've worked in healthcare enough to know several people who shouldn't have been there who were... it wasn't a comforting situation.  I feel that we owe no one an obligation to linger in disease and pain if we choose not to.  The living should not have to sacrifice themselves for years to prolong our agony just out of a sense of duty - even if it IS also a form of love.

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#10    Miss Shadows

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 06:57 AM

Hmm. I come from a complicated family situation, and my mother is an "enthusiast" of prescription painkillers, and I can't say whether or not this accounts fully for the way she is, but having seen certain things about her, like the actual way in which she lies to someone, I think she's also to a moderate degree a sociopath. Now, not much is known about that ailment, but if we're going with the assumption it is even an issue with her, I feel that with the right willpower and a little push for help, she could find a solution both to a matter like that, as well as a drug habit.  But has she? No, in 50 plus years, she hasn't, and she's getting elderly and she's already very sick, but I'll be honest and frank with anyone who reads this in saying that she's not a child, it's her own damn fault. This does have pertinence to the overall thread, because while my mother may be a grown woman, I have a younger sibling who is not, and I've spent quite a bit of time taking care of her over the years. I Lover her to bits, and I'm not saying I blame anyone here who says taking care of a family member was some sort of burden, but seeing my little sister bright, glowing, happy, learning, growing, laughing, and just Loving life, all those things in themselves have sometimes been the only things that made my life worth living. It was difficult, yeah, but not for lack of Love rather than simply the process of at a younger age myself, taking on this whole new part of my life where I wasn't just watching out for myself. At a pretty young age I had to worry about things like getting my sister to school, getting her home, and figuring out how to balance work with making sure she was attended to, cooking dinner, making sure she had clean and ironed clothes and buying her
new clothes when she outgrew the old ones or things got worn out. Also, my sister used to have these horrible migraine headaches when she was younger, so I'd be up all night, quite often a couple nights a week, holding a damp wash cloth on her head while I sat on the edge of her bed talking to her, trying to keep her mind on better things than pain. At times taking care of my little sister has been very time-consuming and exhausting, and yet if I had to do it over again I just would, 100 times out of 100. My mother is my mother, and she makes her own mistakes, but somehow seeing my sister lead at least a somewhat normal life makes me so happy, and now and then it can take the edge off of things with our mother. I agree with one of the other posters who said that it gives you a greater emotional maturity, and often at a much younger age than you might expect it.

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#11    spud the mackem

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 07:40 AM

Hi Y'all, Its nice to know I am not alone..I am a 24/7 carer (for the past 17 years) for my Wife who has Multiple Sclerosis and is 90% disabled,but you just have to get on with it..I do everything necessary to keep her comfortable without any help from anyone,but its no use being miserable and complaining about it.Thats life I guess so try and be happy folks, its better than pushing up daisies. (I think ?)

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#12    spud the mackem

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 07:53 AM

View PostProfessor T, on 10 September 2012 - 12:51 AM, said:

I've been carer on & off for probably a decade.. When I was a young my grandmother lived with us, and whenever Mum & dad needed a break I helped keep an eye on her while they went out. Mum had a very bad Hip, and ended up needing a lot of help as well, then Mum passed away 2 years ago, and it took me a year to leave work and decide to look after Dad full-time..
Right now I'm looking after my dad, has memory lapses, poor mobility..
I get government assistence help $250 a week to survive on. But if I made a call to send dad to a home they would get $1000 PW.. Where's the justification in that?

One thing I've noticed with looking after the elderly is they don't like change. Respite care in a home gives the carer a beak, but the elderly come back very disorientated, and it just makes life harder for the carer in the long run. Even short spells in hospital left Mum & dad differen when they returned, less sure of themselves, less capable of looking after themselves.. I think the governements should do more to help financially, and help the families support their loves ones in their homes.. Farming them off to rest homes doesn't help at all IMO.
  Hi, I know what you feel like buddy, but if you put anyone in a home in the U.K they charge you about $1200 per week,so if you have no savings you have to sell your house to pay for it.The U.K gov't doesn't help.The Social Services asked me if I wanted a "live in" nurse for a week so I could have a break,then said its only $150 per night,where do you get that money from when you're on a pension, The services here are total crap.Regards

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#13    Still Waters

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 11:13 AM

View PostProfessor T, on 10 September 2012 - 12:51 AM, said:

One thing I've noticed with looking after the elderly is they don't like change. Respite care in a home gives the carer a beak, but the elderly come back very disorientated, and it just makes life harder for the carer in the long run.
That's exactly what my father-in-law was afraid of and he just would not agree to my mother-in-law going anywhere. Not even to day care where she'd get picked up from their house and dropped off again. He was so worried if she left the house she might not remember who he was, which in the end she didn't recognise anyone and was totally unaware when he died that she'd lost her husband after 59 years of their marriage. Very sad but I guess what she didn't know didn't hurt her....

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#14    QuiteContrary

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 12:16 PM

Our daughter will be under our care until we pass on, then she will be under her brothers' care. We do need time a part sometimes though, so she visits Grandma for a couple weeks a year. We have no family close and my husband and I are very very particular about just anyone caring for our daughter so, we go out little on our own, and then only very briefly.

I don't consider it a burden on us, but the burden I feel is what she misses out on. She should be driving and going to college and chasing boys. In the near future, living on her own and maybe planning a wedding or due with a baby. These are dreams we can't help but think about for her. But they are not in her future. So, that's what makes it hard, especially since she knows all about driver's licenses and college and dating and marriage and having kids from her brothers and she wants to be just like them.

We involve her in things of her choosing if we can find somewhere who can responsibly and lovingly teach her, include her, look after her. But that is not an easy task by far.

She is my best friend. She makes me laugh and she laughs at my quirky weird humor and tries to enjoy the bizarre critters I am always bringing into the house for us to study and draw and talk about. And I've become pretty darn good at Mario Kart, if I may say so myself, as she is one tough cookie to beat!

I'm a tech clutz so she loves to "Oh, mom!" me with a smile as she fixes my minor troubles on the computer or I-phone. She is an excellent animal lover, but has to supervised in our pets' care. Or she forgets to water them or feed them, but they adore her nonetheless. She is gentle and sweet and brave. Things I am inherently not. So she usually ends up teaching me more than I teach her. I value and at times envy her innocence and instant forgiveness and inability to grasp the world's woes and hatred and power struggles.

I read recently they may be able to "fix" people like her in the not so distant future. But if not, so be it. She is who she is and that is an amazing person, daughter and friend. The world would be better off filled with many more like her. :) :) :)

Edited by QuiteContrary, 10 September 2012 - 12:25 PM.


#15    Miss Shadows

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 11:21 PM

View PostBling Zombie, on 09 September 2012 - 06:04 PM, said:

I'm also a carer for my fiance who has agoraphobia, depression and anxiety. But in return he cares for me as I have a whole list of mental disorders! We get money to care for each other, but it doesn't feel like a burden or job because we love each other and give each other a reason to carry on with life when things are tough.
This is so sweet, very few things these days truly warm my heart, but this is definitely one of them. In saying this I'm not indicating anything about you or your fiance/hubby, but knowing how difficult and problematic and stubborn I can be, I've always thought finding the man who has enough Love and then some to deal with that would be one of the most amazing parts of my life. I'm happy for you and your fiance, and I hope you guys just stay happy together for the rest of your lives :)

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