I became a carer overnight

I became a carer overnight

I never, ever imagined myself as a carer. I was just dealing with the cards life had dealt us.

Jean’s Story

Jean’s Story

Jean cares for her husband Reg who is blind. She was on the board of Carers Gloucestershire for 21 years and is still actively involved with the organisation.

She also now cares for her elderly parents who are in their 90s and recognises that most people will end up performing some kind of caring role at some stage of their lives.

Becoming a carer

My husband had a series of eye operations that led to sight loss. After the last operation, our surgeon called to say things had gone a bit awry and he’d haemorrhaged inside the eye.

When they took the bandages off, he couldn’t see. He lost his sight on his birthday, so he’ll never forget that day. He was in his early 40s and we had a ten-year-old daughter. He was so worried about how she would react. But children are very philosophical, she just treated him as normal. After another operation he lost all light perception and became completely blind.

Getting out of the hospital was our first challenge. I’d never had to guide anyone before. It was quite hilarious when I look back on it but at the time it was awful. I was saying, ‘we need to go round there,’ and he had no idea where I meant. I’ve never been good with knowing my left from my right – and suddenly he was relying on these instructions. My poor husband.

Wife, yes. Carer? Absolutely not. I thought carers were people who wore uniforms and got paid for their work.

You cope with whatever comes along

Life changes very quickly. There was a lot of things that Reg just couldn’t do. He was responsible for the household bills and paper work but suddenly he couldn’t see that paperwork. So we had a complete role reversal. He took on the domestic duties and became a brilliant ironer. I took on the gardening, DIY and household finances.

When Reg got a guide dog, that transformed his life. For the first time, he could go out on his own without hanging on to my arm. Suddenly he had his independence back.

It was just circumstances that had happened to us. He was my husband and we were just dealing with those circumstances.

Finding out about Carers Gloucestershire

When you’re at the beginning of your caring journey, you need all the help you can get. Carers Gloucestershire is there, at the end of the phone, offering the practical and emotional support that can get you through the day, the week, the year.

When you’re thrown into a caring role, it can be frightening and stressful. Having people at the end of the phone who understand what you’re going through makes all the difference.

Need to know what funding is available? They have the answers. Need support to overcome your own emotional issues? They have expert counsellors who know what you’re going through. It is an invaluable service.

So many people don’t recognise themselves as carers. A lot of people don’t like a label. Maybe they’re proud and don’t like to admit they need help to support their loved ones.

 

 

Carers Gloucestershire understands carers. It’s that simple. They understand the frustrations, the tiredness and the isolation.

Like to help us support more carers like Jean? Please visit our fundraising pages for ideas. 

Or if you are a carer who would like support, please visit our support pages.