Rosemary lives in Buxted, East Sussex with her partner. They met ten years ago. Rosemary tells us about her caring role, and looking after her partner.
My partner is 92 years old and has severe macular degeneration and a prostate condition which is manageable. His memory is patchy, but nothing too serious.
Caring for my partner came about gradually. I take care of his medication, organise appointments and am his `second pair of eyes’. When we go out he walks with a white stick and I guide him. He can’t leave the house on his own.
For me personally, caring is 24/7, 365 days a year and there are no breaks. I am responsible for my partner one-to-one all the time. However, compared to other carers, I feel fortunate because I don’t have to deal with immobility or too many medications.
The ongoing responsibility is mentally wearing for me and I feel restricted as I cannot go for longer walks or go shopping. I cannot be out for long and am constantly watching the time. I miss being able to travel further afield or to get away for a whole day, as I would need to organise respite. I would like to come and go more freely.
Neither of us have family to support us. I am not the youngest myself and have to deal with my own health issues as well, which can be quite draining.
The biggest issue for me is the isolation. I can’t make friends easily while in a caring role as I am at home most of the time. I lived in Germany for many years and that’s where my closest friends are. COVID 19 hasn’t helped with isolation either. I find people aren’t always sympathetic and have a `get on with it’ attitude. They are not aware of what is involved unless in a caring situation themselves. A carer’s one-to-one input is not always visible. It is much more than an agency or care home can offer.
I am glad that my partner doesn’t have to be in a residential or nursing home, and that he can have a reasonably normal life at home. I see to it that we can go for short walks and take a flask, and enjoy what we do together. We make the best of our situation, even though it can be restrictive for us both. At the end of the day I do feel privileged to be fulfilling this role.
As far as awareness of the carer’s input is concerned it is important that people realise how suddenly anyone can find themselves having to take on this role. There should be further funding available for those carers in need of more financial support.
If you are looking after someone who couldn’t manage without your help, and would like support or to connect with other carers, please contact us.