In this piece of writing I am going to write about what it means to be a Carer in today’s society, I will write in detail about the role of the carer and the tasks which a typical carer will carry out. I will also explore the physical and physiological effects it takes on the Carer, the difficulties they encounter and the rewards they reap. Usually when we think of a ‘Carer’ people often assume it is somebody that works in a retirement home, somebody that looks after somebody who needs care in a profession.
What it really means is somebody that looks after a relative, friend or neighbour who needs the support because of a disability, on-going illness or simply because of their age. In the United Kingdom most care for people with long term conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease or who are too old or disabled to manage without help is provided within the family not by a professional employed carer. In this piece of writing I will follow and use one case study as an example, the case study of Ann Walker, aged 37 she had been looking after her stepfather for six years.
The other example I will use is that of a personal experience, my nephew is 3 years old and suffers from autism; this gives me a first-hand account of how my sister has to provide extra care because of the child’s disability. Being a Carer isn’t easy and the carer will often face many difficulties, in Ann Walkers case she faced many difficulties. For example she had to give up her job because she had to provide constant care for her step father ‘Angus’ , not only would this mean that a change in income would occur but it also meant that she would have less time socialising as she would no longer be seeing friends at work.
Ann found herself suffering from physical exhaustion caused by regular sleep disturbance and constantly having something to do. Ann started to develop depression, getting the feeling that she had ‘had enough’ and a sense that she could not continue, she seeked medical support from her GP who prescribed her Anti-depressants instead of looking into and helping the main root of the cause. My nephew suffers from Autism and his primary carer is his mother (my sister), she faces some of the same difficulties that Ann suffered, sheer exhaustion and depression.
Because of the constant around the clock extra care she needs to provide for her son she finds she lacks time with her husband and one to one time with her other child. Being a Carer isn’t all about the difficulties, there is are also rewards people gain from being a Carer. The Carer can get a great sense of wellbeing for the help that they are providing for their loved one, family member or neighbour. Being a Carer for a family member can bring that bond between the two people incredibly strong which is great for the family.
There is also help out there for carers, Ann eventually realised she could not do all the caring herself and got help, this meant that Ann could have time for herself and share out some of the daily tasks, which resulted in her feeling less exhausted and happier within herself and find the time she spent looking after Angus more enjoyable. In my sisters case she finds that looking after her son with autism is incredibly rewarding, knowing that she is doing great things for her son, despite his disability she is still bringing him up the way she wants and making sure he is getting great education.
Because we are quite a large family she can also at times have time to herself and another family member will look after my nephew, this ensures that she isn’t always exhausted and she can also spend one to one time with her other child and feel less tension when she is looking after her son. In this piece of writing I have come to the conclusion that being a Carer can seem as though there are a lot more difficulties than rewards. As you can see there were no problems listing the difficulties a few to name that Ann encountered, quitting her job, depression and sheer exhaustion.
This piece of writing shows that getting help from an external professional carer seems like a sensible idea , although many carers will feel as though it is their primary responsibility to care for their loved one, family member or neighbour and that they should solely provide the care. There was a few rewards that Carers will gain for example my sister gets a great sense of wellbeing and a feel of pride for the way she manages to care for her son despite his disability. But it seems that the rewards are always over shadowed by the difficulties that the Carer faces