My role is Carer Engagement & Development Lead for tide (which is the legacy of The Carers’ Call to Action campaign where I was Carers’ Co-coordinator). I have experience of caring for both parents living with dementia in many care settings and thanks to receiving good support from my local authority, I was able to care for my mum for 10 years until she passed away at home in 2011. Even though I regarded it as a pleasure and privilege to care for my mum, I relied heavily on my local Admiral Nursing Service to help me rebuild my life after my caring role ended. I cared whilst working full time and part time in the Civil Service before taking early retirement to enable me to care full time. I have also been strategically involved in local carers’ issues for 10 years.
I was fortunate to receive good care for mum, but many don’t in what is often seen as a ‘post code lottery’ throughout the country. However, because we received such good care I didn’t appreciate the emotional impact that long term intensive caring was having on me and this all became evident after my mum passed away. Many carers don’t realise the toll that caring is taking on them; besides the effect on their health and wellbeing, many give up their careers and can lose their identity and confidence without realising the amazing skills they have acquired whilst caring. This was my lived experience and this is what motivates me to be part of tide; because I know that together we can enable current and former carers to realise that they have these amazing skills and not only give them the confidence, but also empower them to use their voice constructively so we can initiate change for the better from local community to UK wide policy level.