Care & Caregivers

"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fibre of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Within this section are some resources that I hope will outline what help is available, which agencies to contact, information about funding and entitlements and practical resources for anyone who is looking at being a caregiver. 

To be or not to be a caregiver?
Being a caregiver can be an extremely rewarding experience, and one which is profoundly important to a person with a neurological condition. But being a care-giver is not always easy and the decision to become a carer is one that needs to be considered carefully. 

I cared for both my Dad (Motor Neurone Disease) and my Mum (Parkinson's, Dementia and side effects from numerous small strokes) for seven years. I eventually reached a point where I couldn't keep going; I had reached my limit. My Mum now has Ministry funded carers who have taken on that role. 

For me it came down to the following few questions: 
        • If I don't look after them, who will?
        • Will a paid carer be able to care for them in the way I can?
        • For that matter, in the way I want them to be cared for?
        • Who will provide the emotional support when they are in pain/feeling overwhelmed?
        • If this is all the time I have left with them, do I want to regret not giving up a small portion of my life when they needed me? 
        • What will it mean to my parents to be cared for by me, instead of someone they don't know?
Now, in hindsight, I would add the following:
        • How are you going to ensure your own needs are met physically, emotionally and psychologically?
        • Will your relationship be positively or negatively impacted by being a carer? Boundaries can become blurred very easily between what is expected of you as a carer vs as a daughter for example. 
        • If you get unwell, as can easily happen with carer fatigue, who will step in to give you a break?
        • If you have your own family, can you guarantee that their needs will also be met?
        • If the person you are caring for is unreasonable with their demands on you, is there someone - a GP, family member, friend - who can help?
        • Are you really the best person to be their carer?