My name is Muriel and I care for my husband John. We have been married for 47 years and John has been ill, in one form or another, for at least 23 of those years.
Keeping John motivated is difficult. I need to deal with the outside world in whatever form that takes. This includes professional medical staff and social care staff. This can sometimes make me 'the enemy' in John's mind.
Wheelchair bound and oxygen dependent he also has to sleep on a ventilator. It can be very difficult to care for him as sympathy, although I feel it, will not help us on a practical level. Currently, to add to our burden John is showing signs of confusion in his memory functions.
Knowsley Carers Centre probably saved my sanity! After a stroke in 2004, through counselling, I learnt to cope better. I now use the Carers Centre's facilities, of which there are many. I now know there is always someone to turn to for help. Respite funding from Social Services also helps but this has faced drastic cuts due to the current financial climate.
I am now a member of Carers Vision. This group meets at Knowsley Carers Centre in Kirkby. We have all been trained to help facilitate carer awareness training. We meet professional groups as well as Patient Participation Groups to tell them what being a carer is really like; it's about having total responsibility for another human being. The members of this group do not seek pity but want to show the everyday, constant battles carers face.
We all care for our loved ones because we want to love and protect them. As a full time carer this can destroy you as a person: but if you receive the right support and help it can also be a rewarding experience.
Hi my name is Angela I have been a carer for 27 years looking after my daughter with a lifelong haematology condition. It's not just the hospital runs and meeting with so many doctors, consultants, professors, being a carer is one of the most hardest things I have ever done in my life. It has also been the most educational and challenging experience and if I could change it I wouldn't. As a carer I believe it's so important that all Carers are aware of their rights and the support that is available for them because if you are caring on your own and have no support there is a danger of depression and many other elements. So really to all Carers it's so important for mental well being and positive mind and healthy caring that you get support .The Carers Centre was mine and was I glad I linked into them. The Carers Centre helped me to get back into work because at that time I had finished my studies to be a holistic therapist and had a vision for the Carers Centre to deliver a holistic approach to caring and they believed in this and that was it, therapies for all Carers was available and still is now to this day. The Cares Centre has so many things to tap into and the help from the support workers is great. As a carer now my duties are not as busy as they have been and I'm going back into the job I would love to do. With the help from the Cares Centre I am now looking to do a project management course and take all my 27 years of experience helping to shape the future of the way our health care is delivered. By having the support from the Centre I've also done the carers facilitator training and also been asked to chair my GP's Patient Participation Group. Being involved has helped me so much to keep the vision for me alive despite all the caring duties.