As featured in various newspapers!
OF BEING A
It's not all tea and giggles writes
Dave Lomas who was a full
time carer for 12 years.
INTRODUCTION TO THIS ARTICLE!
I looked after me old mum for 12 years. No training involved, no security checks, no one supervising me or telling me what I was doing wrong. No one with me in the middle of the night when she needed help. No checking me out to see if I was a risk to my mother. No criminal records check - NOTHING! But when I say I know more than many in the care services through hard earned hands-on experience I can say that with confidence. In fact some were still at school 12 years ago when I had no choice but to do that job.
But of course to give someone a bed pan at a care home requires lots of training and security checks and a working profile that is of at least rocket science standards - OR DOES IT?
I maybe a man, an older man at that, but I have more knowledge and experience than any younger person through experience of life. And to prove it I even wrote an article on being a home carer which has been published in various on-line publications and in newspapers in recent times.
Dave J. Lomas - April 2014
THE REALITY OF BEING A HOME CARER
Almost every single picture of an elderly or disabled person being looked after in their home by a carer, (often a family member), shows them laughing or smiling but this is far from the true reality of the situation in many cases.
Such pictures may promote a friendly, loving and caring image but behind the scenes this is sometimes not the true case.
With an ageing population comes a variety of both physical and emotional problems for people dependent on others in their old age but for the person caring for that person they are also at risk of both physical and even mental problems in the future as a result of looking after someone over a prolonged period of time.
Continued from the first column ...
For some carers the job only involves covering such things as popping in to see the person they are looking after and making sure that they have had a meal, tablets and the such like but for many people the job of being a carer is not only demanding but often a 24 hours a day - 7 days a week never ending job which is further demanding if they live with the person they care for.
Ask any full time carer and they will tell you that being awake all through the night, on never ending standby and listening out for the person they care for who may need them for a variety of reasons, and in some cases several times a night, is a draining and tiring thing which over a period of time will effect their health and general well-being in addition to the very high risk of mental strain that could, and in some cases does, lead to depression.
Although the stress of looking after someone is a recognised thing and respite care is available to give the carer a much needed break a few times over a period of a year this option is in some cases not used for a number of reasons, such as, feeling guilty for passing on a parent or child to others to look after, or maybe in the case of an elderly parent, emotional protests from them as they feel neglected or vulnerable at being in the care of strangers.
This is a common problem in the case of a confused elderly person who does not fully understand the situation and has become emotionally depended in a strong way with the family member who looks after them on a daily basis.
Although there are support services in place such as someone coming out to help in washing them and the such like these service visits are often no more than 10 minutes to 30 minutes in duration which leaves the carer on their own again to look after the person in question for the remainder of the day.
Being a carer often involves a wide range of skills, and problem solving situations, that do not end when the working shift is over like a regular 9 to 5 job.
Anyone who can do such a demanding job will have more than just 'staying power' but also a multitude of skills that can range from providing meals, sorting out medication and clearing up the mess including washing them and toilet assistance, often, without time for themselves in most cases but sadly this is not recognised as a normal regular job and it will effect their future job prospects, with regard to having a valid work history, when the time comes to returning to the work place.
Many people have no true option but to give up their job or working career to look after someone, often a family member of course, that can be a long term situation in some cases.
Continued from the second column ...
A new carer often does not realise that caring for someone can become a long term situation or for that matter a very demanding job as the person becomes older and more frail.
Sadly in the case of an elderly person with several medical problems regular hospital visits, including emergency visits in the middle of the night due to a fall or virus for example, falls on the shoulders of the person who cares for them which is further draining for them emotionally if it is a parent who is suffering and they are understandably worried about them.
For someone who does a carers job as a living, such as a care home nurse or assistant, they are not, in the normal sense of the word, emotionally involved like someone looking after a frail father for example and can 'switch off' so to speak when the working day is over but for a live-in relative this is in most cases never the case. That being the situation carers are often found failing to look after themselves and neglecting their own medical needs and even still carrying out their caring duties while ill themselves without seeking help.
Life as a carer is not all doom and gloom, of course, as there are times when the satisfaction of seeing the person they care for smiling and happy does make it all worthwhile and there are many moments over the years that are filled with a sense of fun and joy but as the person they care for becomes more and more ill, as in the case of a frail elderly person in the main or someone with a degenerative illness for example, the demands on the carer often puts a strain on them, which can and often does, result in both physical and emotional effects that can be debilitating for them for sometime to come after their caring duties end.
The old saying - Who cares for the carer? is not only very true but also one that should be given more consideration even when the job of a carer ends and they try to return to a so-called normal life again and attempt to return to the workplace after being in what is often a stressful job of work in its own right.
Talking from experience
and saying it as it is!
Dave J. Lomas - 10th of April 2014
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