Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/870/21408
Twelve hours in the life of a carer
Noreen Bailey, Carer
I am an adult carer, having fostered three boys at home. Two of them are dependent for all their needs on me and my husband John. Our eldest is now 44 and came to us aged 14; our youngest came to us at 18 months and is now 24.
Our middle son is autistic; he joined our household when he was two years old and is now 25. We also have a grown family who are all married with families of their own.
Friday morning, 12.30am: I have just finished ironing and put it away, just going to wash the cups and put things ready for breakfast. The lads have been in bed since 10.30pm. I can hear our eldest shouting and laughing.
This is a nightly thing so I go in and make sure he is OK and check on our youngest and middle son - both the others are asleep. I put music on low to see if it will settle him down. After about an hour it does.
At 1.40am, our youngest son is shouting and banging his head. I see he needs changing so I clean and change him, then put him back to bed. I put his music on and eventually he too goes back to sleep.
It's now 2.05am. I make myself a drink and go to bed, which is actually the settee, as it has been for 15 years. The boys need their own bedrooms and someone downstairs with them.
I turn the lights off and our eldest son starts shouting again. I wait about 15 minutes and then get back up to see if he is ok. He needs changing and I have to call John as I can't change him on my own.
Once we have sorted him out and got him back in bed I make more tea and put the TV on.
By this time it's 3.15am and I can't get to sleep so I catch up with emails to my friend Norma who runs 'SEARCH' with me - a support and campaigning organisation for parents of children and adults with disabilities.
After finishing my emails I return to the settee and doze off. I am woken at 5.30am by my son laughing, knowing it's time to get up. I make myself tea and toast, then go in and hoist our son into the shower room.
Once ready I hoist him into his wheel chair and then clean up and take him into the living room. Now it's time for his meds. Once they are given I make his breakfast and put his splints and boots on.
It's 7.30am. I make sure our youngest son has got everything in his bag for the day centre. John is up and he is taking his own meds as he is a diabetic.
It's now 8.40am and I call our middle boy up who hates mornings, but we get through with a bit of persuading. Once he is showered and ready it's 9.30am and time to get the boys to the day centre.
This is where the fun starts.
First we have to get our middle son in. He tries every excuse in the book to stay at home. We eventually load the boys in the car which requires much effort.
I should have a great waist line but it doesn't work like that! It just makes my back ache really takes its toll on John who is 69 and has fought cancer. I am 68. We're not getting any younger.
We did have help with transport but it was stopped by Salford council nearly 18 months ago. So we have to endure four trips a day going to the day centre.
Our campaign over transport still continues, we have done everything, emailing and lobbying. Two families took the council to court and won transport back but just for them. So we've re-launched our campaign with a Salford Against Cuts leaflet and an online petition.
We even went to see our MP who says she is an anti-austerity Jeremy Corbyn supporter. But she says she can't interfere with decisions made by the Labour council!
By this time it's almost 10.15am. Most mornings we go home and I catch up with my cleaning and arranging meetings for 'SEARCH' and any other campaigning work.
It's now 11.45am. I make phone calls to other parents to see how they are doing and if there is anything our group can help with, before preparing dinner.
This is a part of one day in my life. Once a week I also go to Socialist Party branch meetings which I love. Members have been very supportive over the last year.
I was also Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate for parliament in May for Salford & Eccles.
I did not get the seat but did get 517 votes which I was very proud of. TUSC has the best manifesto for a better future.
One day we all will need care in one shape or another. The way things are going with this government and even Labour councils, it won't be provided.
Carers help keep the country running but suffer in silence; it's about time we were heard.
It's sad that we carers don't get the help we should; our council just doesn't care.
I think of all the carers that don't have family or friends like me to help them.
This is why I joined the Socialist Party. They are a group of people that fight beside us and I am so proud to say I am a member.
In The Socialist 16 September 2015:
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Socialist Party workplace news
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