New to this

Hello. I’m Bob. My wife’s several health issues have turned me into her carer over the last twelve months. In some ways lockdown has hidden this truth from me, but I see now that my (willing) duties are many and our horizons small. How on earth do I begin?

Hi Bob, welcome to the forum.
We had a wonderful life before my second son was brain damaged at birth. I’d worked in Australia, where I learned to ride motorbikes and horses, shipped steam engines round the world when I was just 23, bought a house with half an acre mortgage free in our twenties. Adjusting was very difficult. There are no magic wands, and a lot of grieving for what might have been, the dreams lost forever.
Money doesn’t solve anything, but it can certainly make life easier.
Make sure your wife is claiming all the benefits she is entitled to, and receiving all the help available.
If you can tell us a bit more about her age and health issues, we may be able to give you a few ideas.

Hi bowlingbun
Thanks for replying. My wife has a stroke in 2019. This is in top of type-one diabetes and other health issues. She has no energy or stamina and has limited ability to find words and keep up with conversation. She sleeps for much of the day. The walking, cycling, travel and general activity that were central to our lives have gone and I have slipped into the role of carer, explainer, manager, safety officer etc. All of this I can do and willingly do. I have space in my life for stuff if my own - cycling, guitar, dog, village life- and we are financially secure. Yet I’m heartbroken for what has gone and am finding the adjustment difficult to make.

I’m sorry to hear about your wife’s stroke.
The Covid situation makes things so much worse still, as many things that might help both of you will be on hold.
I don’t know how old she is, but if under 65 she is very likely to be entitled to highest Care and Mobility Personal Independence Payments. Have you claimed?
As she has had a stroke, and it’s affecting her ability to do various things, that counts as “severe mental impairment” so she is EXEMPT from Council Tax. Have you claimed?
Have Social Services provided any advice and assistance? Are there any aids that would help, an accessible bathroom, grab handles etc? Have they told you if there are normally groups to help her locally?
Does she have a Lifeline pendant, so you know she can call for help if you are out?

She’s 73. We get AA and I’ll look at CT exemption. Lifeline Pendant is a great idea and I’ll look into it on Monday. I can’t take the dog out without worrying about what’s happening at home so pendant would help. Covid has made support patchy (same for all I guess). We’ve got some kit in the house (grabs, sticks, walker) and bought an electric wheelchair which either can control. GP is great and helps draw things together for us. I can do the practical stuff but can’t yet come to terms with the situation. I guess I’m not unique in that sense.

Hi Rob,
that sounds tough on both of you.

As places start to open again you might enjoy finding new joint interests - swimming or pottery etc


Hello Bob
Welcome to the forum.
I’m sorry about your situation. I have some understanding of how you feel. My late husband suffered strokes then sadly had other issues. I grieved for our life as it was. My life has been about adjusting. Yours must be too.
Hope you will stay with the forum as it’s a good place to vent if you feel the need.

The Council Tax exemption is really easy to claim, what’s more it CAN be backdated to the day of the stroke. The highest amount I’ve heard of so far is £8,000!!!
I was widowed 15 years ago, at the age of 54. My life changed forever that day.

Thank you all for your kindness and advice. I already feel like I’ve found a good and right place to be.

Yes, it’s no good discussing things with friends who aren’t carers.
I think it frightens many of them, but we never chose to be carers.
The very worst are family members who drop in without warning, tell us what more we should be doing, then disappear again, maybe not to be seen for a year or two. We call them Helicopters here!
My mum told me that younger brother, wife and kids went to the Caribbean on Concorde because the flight was shorter and better for the kids!!!
Heaven forbid that helping with mum could interrupt his perfect life.

Welcome to the forum, Bob. My husband had a stroke last July and got aphasia as a result. Thankfully there were no physical problems. At times I get very frustrated by him, but at other times I feel sorry for him as it’s like a bereavement to lose the ability to speak and find words. It’s also like a bereavement for me, as I have lost the person who was my husband pre-stroke, if you know what I mean.