Anne has been working for Carers Support since September 2015
I met up with a parent carer friend of mine recently and I was reflecting on my work as a Communications and Marketing Manager at Carers Support. I said how important I felt it was to work to raise awareness of the impact of caring and the services available. I have worked now with carers in West Sussex for just over a year and I can truly say that I am ‘touched’ by every carer story that I read or listen to and in awe of all our volunteers who work on behalf of Carers Support and give their time freely to try and improve the health and wellbeing of carers across the County.
Both my friend and I must have been in quite a reflective mood because we decided to try and work out the true cost of caring for her disabled 14 year old son.
Her employer was initially sympathetic but with each absence it became more difficult at work with both colleagues, her team and her boss.
It was a daunting task. We started with the loss of her career. She had to give up work. You could argue if you didn’t understand carers that she chose to give up work. After all she resigned. She said it was impossible to focus on a career and a young disabled son at the same time. There were multiple hospital visits, illnesses, operations and stays in hospital. Some years saw fewer hospital in-stays but there were always regular appointments. Her employer was initially sympathetic but with each absence it became more difficult at work with both colleagues, her team and her boss. When at work she found it difficult to concentrate, she was too worried about her son and she hated being so unreliable. Throughout her son’s life there have been constant battles for funding, for educational support, with medical professionals etc. all of which take enormous amounts of time and energy.
The career went, along with the salary. The loss of salary equated to £60,000 pa, which has been lost now for 14 years. This meant to date a grand total of £840,000 loss. This seemed a large sum. We decided not to include the potential salary rises or promotions, the loss of private medical insurance, car allowance, death in service benefit, professional memberships, continual professional development or pension because it felt too complicated.
We couldn’t work out how you attribute the costs of loss of confidence, feelings of guilt, continual fatigue, the impact on your own health and wellbeing, the impact on family relationships and lost friendships.
We were both shocked when we started thinking about the financial and emotional stress that had been placed on the family. £840,000 seemed a large enough sum to lose for no fault of your own but how did you measure the loss of everything else?
For most carers, the financial loss is huge and stress becomes normal, caring is tough but with the right support it can become a little easier.
Every carer is different and every situation is different but at Carers Support we do offer an individual approach.
It is for this reason that I work for Carers Support because with some quality time to themselves carers can feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Every carer is different and every situation is different but at Carers Support we do offer an individual approach. Carers can choose what works for them; counseling, one to one support with one of our emotional wellbeing workers, support groups, learning and wellbeing programmes etc. There is something for everyone.
They say there are three types of people in this world; those who are carers, those who have been carers and those who will be carers. That means we all have a vested interest in making support for Carers in this County the best it can be.
So please either register, volunteer or support us through donating on the My Donate page of our website.