18 June 2012
A Cardigan woman is encouraging adult carers in Ceredigion to find out how the Red Cross could support them.
Angela Brown, 66, looked after her husband John after he was diagnosed with dementia seven years ago. She was helped by the Red Cross Ceredigion carers support service
, which is holding an open day during Carers’ Week (June 18-24).
The open day takes place between 11am and 3pm, on Thursday, June 21, at the Red Cross centre in Parc Teifi, Cardigan. It aims to highlight the support available to carers in Ceredigion and includes information, demonstrations from therapeutic massage and first aid as well as blood pressure checks from the Stroke Association.
“Everything changes completely as a carer,” said Angela, from Cardigan. “All your interests have to be put to one side because your life is dedicated to looking after one person. The Red Cross group is a fantastic support, we help each other with information and I have made some fantastic friends there.”
Angela’s journey began seven-years-ago when John, a retired dental surgeon and barrister, was diagnosed with dementia. In the first few years after diagnosis, Angela and John continued to live a normal life, going on holidays, visiting their three children and enjoying time with their six grandchildren.
But as John’s dementia progressed, the care he required increased until Angela was doing everything for him. She had to watch him in case he wandered off, get him up and dressed in the morning, bath and feed him.
“Physically and emotionally caring is very draining; you get absolutely worn out,” she said.
Angela was told about the Red Cross’ adult carers service by an occupational therapist at the memory clinic John attended. The service is funded by Ceredigion County Council social services department and works in partnership with members of the Ceredigion Carers Alliance Group. It acts as a focal point for adult carers in Ceredigion, enabling them to access advice, training opportunities and information on employment and health. Support workers also offer one-to-one meetings and telephone support.
It was at these monthly meetings Angela was able to meet other carers, share stories, have time to herself and get advice. “I have made some fantastic friends from the group and I always know the Red Cross is there when you need them,” she said.
Sadly John died in March, aged 86, but Angela is forever thankful for the support she continues to receive from the Red Cross.
Carers Week (18th – 24th June) highlights the vital work done by those who provide unpaid care for someone who is ill, frail or disabled. This year, the theme for the week is ‘In Sickness and in Health’ and calls for sustainable funding for social care and better support for unpaid carers, both practically and financially.
Red Cross carers service manager Denise John says: “Many carers suffer due to a lack of understanding about what they do – some don’t even recognise themselves as carers. This has a real and negative impact on their health, finances, work, social life and general wellbeing. Our open day is to highlight what help and support is available to carers throughout Ceredigion.”
In addition to the open day event, there will be an information display manned by former carers at Sainsburys in Lampeter on Monday, June 18, from 10am.
For more information about the service please call 01239 615945 or visit www.redcross.org.uk