The Guardian recently published an article titled ‘Stuck in the Middle’ which addressed the issue of people raising families whilst caring for elderly relatives many of whom are also in paid employment. After 5 years of listening to carers on helplines whose relatives were showing signs of memory loss it was drummed into me the difficulties people faced when juggling all of these responsibilities, especially if elderly relatives lived a distance away. It struck me that if my parents were beginning with dementia I would probably have to give up work for at least a year to stabilise their lives with care plans and carers or residential care since I live a good 4 hour drive from them and am an only child. (This in fact is what my mother had done when her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, driving from the Wirral to Peterborough twice a month until she could move them up to live near to her and my father who are still caring for my Grandad 21 years later (my Gran died with dementia 16 years ago).My mother was not an only child but her brother could not balance the responsibility of looking after aged parents with his naval career. )
This is why I am so passionate about people planning ahead in terms of setting up Lasting Powers of Attorney, Advance Decisions and picking up the basics of the paying for care system and the rights that carers have.If we wait till a crisis hits it is going to be a lot to cope with: handling the fact that a loved one has dementia, negotiating with health professionals and trying to deal with the Court of Protection. This is where I would like to help people earlier on. The government has set up a consultation called ‘Modern Workplaces’ which will at least touch on this problem. Good news for me and everyone who may develop or may eventually be caring for someone with memory loss.
To read the article please click here