“NOTHING prepares you for the devastation and loss that dementia wreaks on lives.”
That’s the message from Redditch carer ‘Bob’ during Carers Week which runs from June 10-16.
“Just as we were beginning to plan for an active retirement, my lovely wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s,” said Bob.
“I cared for her at home for eight years until it became impossible for me to cope.
“She’s been in Sanctuary Care at the Brambles Home in Redditch for the past seven years and I visit every day even though she can’t communicate in any way.”
Bob is supported by Redditch charity Carers Careline which has helped hundreds of people cope with the burden of looking after a loved one or neighbour.
“Probably everyone will either be caring for someone, being cared for or will know people in each of those roles,” said Fiona Mitchell, chief officer at Carers Careline.
“The prediction is that within ten years three people in every five will be caring for someone else at some time in their lives.”
The strain of caring affects the carer’s own physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, jeopardising their ability to carry on caring.
“There are 6.5 million unpaid home carers in the UK who cannot be taken for granted,” said Fiona.
“Without this unpaid care by friends and family the health and social services would simply collapse.
“We connect carers with each other,” said Fiona.
“We offer them drop-ins and coffee mornings, trips and activities, help with difficult forms and phone calls, a monthly telephone call.
“We also arrange counselling and have a bereavement service. If anyone reading this is looking after somebody and needs someone to talk to, call us on 01527 66177.”
Carers Careline is based in the Ecumenical Centre in Evesham Walk, Redditch.