I am DESPERATELY concerned about pensioner carers.
I now come into this category as a rule, my son was brain damaged at birth, 41 years ago. At the beginning of the lockdown, I was told to go and get him asap without any consideration of my own situation. My health is so fragile, I am under medical instructions never to care for him again. I can manage the odd weekend, but no way could I care for him full time.
“Caring Behind Closed Doors” is an interesting and valuable report, but I am worried that some carers have been missed.
Last night, after a nightmare about my son’s situation, I was wide awake for a couple of hours. I then decided to look at the CUK 2019 State of Caring Report, thinking specifically about others in my situation.
46% of all carers care for 90+ hours a week (so employment outside the home is simply impossible for them).
Over TWO MILLION CARERS are over 65, the majority of them will be receiving their State Pension, so due to the overlapping benefits rule, they will receive NOTHING for the care they are providing.
Many, like me, will want to care for their caree, but with increased age comes increased infirmity, especially for parent carers like myself.
Many of our children have had significant cuts to their services in recent years. Government wants LA’s to reduce costs, major LA cost is Social Care. Day services have been cut, day centres closed down, respite centres closed down.
Every cut means family carers are expected to provide more and more, when their ability to care gets less and less as they too are getting older.
It can be a struggle for a couple in their seventies caring for a disabled adult child. Adult in years but child in mental state. My own son has the mental age of a 3 year old in some areas. He cannot read, write, do any maths, manage his money, or cross a busy road safely.
When both parents care together, they can leave one looking after the child while they do essential jobs, go shopping, or rest.
The ill health of one parent means that a carer has two carees, not one.
The death of a parent is dreadful. As well as grieving, there is so much more for the remaining parent.
The only time they get to themselves is when the child has the opportunity to go to some day service or respite.
Whilst in theory the carer can then rest, the reality is that they are often trying to get on and do jobs which they can only do when the caree is absent.
LOCKDOWN has had a catastrophic effect on pensioner carers.
All the services they usually received are closed.
Priority is given to those in residential care or supported living with no family to care for them.
Shopping is a nightmare, priority shopping slots are not available to these carers/carees.
Unable to leave the caree at home, they have to take them out, but anyone with LD is classed as Vulnerable!
In theory, councils are supposed to be using the Personal Budgets for these carees “flexibly”.
No one has been in touch with my about flexing my son’s budget, he’s lost 28 hours every week!
PENSIONER CARERS HAVE BEEN FORGOTTEN BY THE GOVERNMENT
It is time the government recognised that when virtually all services to support carees have been closed down, they still need carers.
The carers least able to care are pensioners, now caring 168 hours a week, without any relief whatsoever.
Their own health is being seriously affected.
Pensioners without responsibilities under lockdown can live a fairly normal life, going for walks, warm baths, reading books, watching TV etc.
Pensioner carers now have to work 24/7, without ANY opportunity for a break.
IT IS TIME TO SCRAP THE “OVERLAPPING RULE” FOR PENSIONERS
This would immediately help the 2m over 65 carers.
UNDER 65 “HEAVY END” CARERS
From the statistics available, I can’t work out how many carers under 65 are caring over 90 hours a week.
The majority would be subject to the overlapping rule as far as other benefits are concerned.
Maybe CUK has this figure available?