Why ???


I am sometimes surprised at why people think I blog.

Recently I was told by a MSP “I have great Sympathy for what you do” This made me wonder if people thought that is why I blog to look for sympathy. Well to clear that up NO I DON’T.”  I have never looked for Sympathy for what I do that’s not the type of person I am  so anyone who thinks that has not been reading my blogs properly.

The whole point of this Blog is to speak up for carers and not seek sympathy for them but more Respect and Understanding. Some people don’t get it and when its an elected representative and a Member of the Scottish Government that in my humble opinion makes it worse. I am not going to Name the MSP as this is not about.

I am not seeking to stand as a candidate for Council, Holyrood or Westminster and have no plans to do so in the for see able future. I have my own political opinion and it is my own. I know that life is not Black and White Neither is it Red verses Blue there are other shades of politics and Football available. However we must also work together and so over the past few years I have spoke to people from all political parties to further the Understanding of Carers in Scotland.

So if you haven’t read this Blog before please read some and hopefully you will have a better understanding of carers and indeed the people they care for.

Be positive


I have not posted for a while for a number of reasons none of these reasons is that I had nothing to say. Those of you who know me will know I never have nothing to say. I have however found it hard to be positive recently.

It is hard to be positive when not a lot of positive things are happening. I watch every day as Mrs G is in pain and I can do nothing about it. I say platitudes like “its going to be OK”  Its hard to keep this up for a long time when Mrs G picks up one infection after another and does not get  a break. Carers are not immune to these infections too and its hard to stay positive when you are not feeling well either. However I have to try as no matter how unwell I may feel Mrs G feels worse as she has her daily pain to deal with too and if she can’t use her distraction methods to deal with the pain its worse.

So how do you stay positive ? the simple answer is you don’t but you try.

About a Carer


This is a Post Written by my wife Mrs G

When Mr G became my Unpaid Carer, there was, he felt, quite a stigma about it, especially a man giving up a well paid job which put “his family on benefits”. It took him some time to get used to his new role.

 

I had always been a stay at home Mum, cooking up to four different dinners a night, cleaning the house, making the beds, as you will all know the list goes on and on.

 

So not only did Mr G have to do some of these tasks, the children had to get used to Daddy cooking one meal for everyone and asking them to keep their rooms tidy and make their beds themselves. As Mr G also had to help me do things I could no longer do.

 

I don’t know if he remembers the day when he felt inside he was an Unpaid Carer but I remember it vividly. It was after an “heated discussion” with one of my consultants. He managed to change the way she spoke to me and ever since then Mr G has worked hard to bring the role of an Unpaid Carer to the fore and of course he also works tirelessly helping me both physically and emotionally and tries to raise awareness for the Caree.

 

I may be wrong, but I think Mr G works so hard to help raise awareness of Unpaid Carers, as it was so hard for him when he had the role thrust upon him. Mr G just wants other Unpaid Carers to know they are not alone.

 

 

24 /7 – what it really Means


We live in a world where everyone wants everything and they want it now when was in my twenties you could not Buy Alcohol on a Sunday anywhere other than a pub. Shops didn’t open 24/7. If you wanted to go to a “Mall” you went to the Metro centre in Gateshead. Now we have 24/7 supermarkets in Countless malls in every major City while some of this does make our life that little easier it also kills of things from the past like the corner shop and the High Street.

Now living in the 24/7 age does everyone really understand what that means well to me it is my life being a carer I look after Claire 24/7 when she needs help during the night I am the person helps her. Much like other Carers up and down the whole of the UK and indeed throughout the World. This is the real 24/7 and this Wednesday the 24th July 2013 Co-operative  Group employees up and down the UK will be bringing this to peoples attention by doing events to raise money for the Carers Trust.

I have the pleasure of being a Carers Ambassador this year and have been visiting stores, phoning stores, supporting at events and recently spoke  to a Membership committee to show the important work that carers do.  Here is the presentation I gave –

 

Intro / Slide 1

Slide-1

Hi everyone.

My name is Michael Grieve and I am a Carers Trust Ambassador.  I am also a Carer for my Disabled Wife.

This year I am helping to support Co-operative staff, members and customers with fund raising for The Carers Trust which is as you know is your chosen charity of the year 2013.

The Charity of the Year Partnership will fund new projects for young adult carers aged between 14 – 25 years.

Many thanks for the opportunity to speak to you today about what I believe will be one of the most exciting things to happen for young adult carers in many years.

We at Carers Trust are privileged to be able to work with you to bring a whole range of new support services and grants to a large group of people who devote a significant part of their life to helping others and who are rarely recognised for what they do.

Slide 2

 Slide-2

But what is a carer? A carer is someone of any age who provides unpaid support to family or friends who could not manage without this help due to illness, disability, mental ill-health or a substance misuse problem.

Caring is a cause on a vast scale – more than 7 million people in the UK, with the number forecast to reach 9 million by 2037 – that’s 1 in 10 of the population who is a carer

Yet, despite the huge size of the issue, it’s a cause that is still very much “hidden” or unrecognised and one that does not evoke the same emotive response you get when you talk about causes such as Alzheimer’s, child cruelty or cancer.

For any one individual, the chances are that they will be a carer at some point during their life. Caring affects us all.

Slide 3

Slide3

As I said despite the fact that there are 7m carers in the UK – 1m of which are under 25, caring is still very much a hidden issue with many carers going unnoticed for the support they’re providing and the impact that it has on their lives.

At Carer’s Trust, we don’t believe that caring should be a hidden cause.

As many as 25% provide more than 20 hours of care per week and 12% provide more than 50 hours – this is a huge statistic and one that cannot go unnoticed.

Slide 4

Slide-4

The impact of caring on anyone is huge, but it is especially noticeable on Young Adult Carers. This year we are raising money to support 20,000 Young Adult Carers so that they are not forgotten, so that they are empowered and equipped with the skills and information they need to transform their lives.

It goes without saying that if somebody is caring for 20 hours a week; this is going to have a huge impact on their life, both mentally and physically.

We know that 68% of Young Adult Carers are bullied – not at school all the time, can’t go out with friends after school – they are easy targets

Because they are not always able to attend school; hospital visits, caring around the clock or simply because when they do go, they get left behind so choose not to go – this can have a huge effect on their education and career opportunities.

Not forgetting the physical implications of caring – if someone is lifting their dad into bed every night, helping their mum down the stairs, this is going to have an impact on their health and we see this time and time again.

What these Young Adult Carers are doing for their loved ones really is fantastic, and this shouldn’t be ignored, but all of these things can lead to social exclusion and isolation which put Young Adult Carers at a huge disadvantage, at Carers Trust  we work to ensure that Young Adult Carers are not ignored or forgotten, that they receive the support they need to live their own lives.

Slide 5

Slide-5

I would now like to read you a blog extract written by a young adult carer on the Carers Trust website…

Blog extract – I care for my Mum, and I don’t class myself as a carer, more of a shoulder, and a helper, because Mums capable of a lot of things. She doesn’t have a full disability; it’s more of a memory thing. Her accident years ago, before I was born, affected her memory and now she has trouble remembering things, or noticing things, or takes a lot of time to register how to do things, and I’m coped pretty well my entire life, but now that I’m 17, and had trouble with school and now college, it’s getting quite hard to deal with it all.

I love my Mum and she’s like my best friend, but she constantly feels like she fails at everything and I’m just not strong enough anymore to say otherwise, because I do feel like I’ve lost out on having a Mum who is all there, and it’s hard not to want to admit that, especially when there’s nothing she can do to help that. Most days, things are okay, and we both cope with it, but today, again, like a lot of days lately, I just felt like I couldn’t cope, and needed to let it out.

Does anyone have any advice on the kind of things I can do, to stop the depression and anger and stress getting to me? I do card making at times, I wonder if doing that more and say selling them on to people would be a good idea, I’m open to ideas, and any support and help would be great. I don’t want to feel alone anymore…

Slide 6

Slide-6

Carers Trust is comprised of its Network Partners – Carers centres and Crossroad schemes. We cover the UK and reach 38,000 adult carers each year, 27,000 YAC.

Carers centres; provide info, advice and support. Community consultations and practical help, befriending schemes, breaks away and social and training activities and schemes

Crossroads; provide care in the home, so that carers can take a break. Carer support workers go into the home and provide overnight support, assistance with meals, household duties, personal care etc. whatever the normal carer normally does they will do.

Slide 7

Slide-7

What will  Carers Trust  being the cooperative’s charity of the year mean for young adult carers?

Slide 8

 Slide-8

Working together, we would like to raise at least £5 million nationally. During the course of 2013, this will involve more than 4000 store and branch visits to more than 110,000 staff.

So far to date we have raised over £1.6Million – meaning we are well on track to reaching our target!

Slide 9

Slide-9

There is a regional calendar of events available for the North region. These include things like sky dives, fun runs, sponsored walks, half-marathons and mountain climbs.

If you are interested in doing an individual or team challenge or would like to organise your own fundraising event or challenge please contact your regional fundraiser, Terrie Oakshott.

Slide 10

Slide-10

Upcoming events in the North region include…

  1. The ‘Round the Region Relay’ is a sponsored walk or cycle which we are still looking for teams to take part in. This will involve walking a sponsored section of the North regional boarder and will involve teams from all business divisions. This is a membership led event which has been organised by Kevin McGrother and your membership team will be able to give you more information about this exciting event.
  1. Launch of 24/7 – So How You Can Get Involved On Wednesday 24th July 2013 colleagues across The whole Co-operative Group are being asked to take part in our exciting, UK wide Charity of the Year fundraising day. 24/7 is about more than just fundraising; it aims to highlight the 24 hour, seven day a week nature of caring that carers face every day. We’re aiming to raise at least £247,000 on this one day alone, and every section of business is invited to take part. Please ask your stores to get in touch and let me know what they are up to. They can also tweet photos to @carerstweets and email them to toakshott@carers.org

Ideas – Why not do a time themed event to link into 24/7? Or do a 24 hour challenge? Get staff to cycle 247 miles on an exercise bike in store…shave 24 heads in one day…sit in a bath of beans for 247 minutes…The possibilities are endless! Anything that incorporates the numbers 24 / 7!

Slide 11

Slide-11

If you would like to get involved with supporting carers Trust this year please do let us know.

Slide 12

Slide-12

How we can support the co-operative with fundraising this year.  Your regional fundraiser is Terrie Oakshott  (contact details on slide) and there is a team of charity ambassadors across the region from many local carers’ centres who may be able to provide support at a more local level.  There is also dual branded charity merchandise available for any branch or staff to order. Merchandise is free and available via a telephone hotline or this order form…

Slide 13

Slide-13

How to order…

Slide 14 / Slide 15 – Project Intro / Project Slide

Slide-14

Fundraising will support a variety of key projects under the “About time” umbrella. The Charity of the Year partnership strongly supports Co-operative’s commitment to Inspiring Young People, a key part of its ethical plan, and is expected to reach and transform the lives of 20,000 young adult carers.

Slide-15

There are 5 core strands to “about time” starting with the “Time to be noticed” campaign, designed to improve national awareness of young adult carers, what they do and the issues they face. “Time out” will provide respite breaks to give young adult carers the breathing space to focus on themselves and their ambitions. “Time for Change” will set up 50 major new projects across the UK, offering tailored support and services in areas such as education, training, careers and health. ”Time to connect” will provide a new on-line support website where young adult carers can seek advice and connect with others in a similar situation. Finally, “Time to be heard” is a programme of events designed to  give young adult carers the opportunity to engage with opinion formers and policy makers so that they can develop the skills and confidence to make their voices heard.

Slide 16 – Thank You

Slide-16

Thank you for your time today – please feel free to ask me any questions you may have

You can do this by leaving a comment

Carers and Stress and Depression


We are told that the CEO s of the Big Banks get paid the big money as they have to make the big decisions. We we know from experience that they didn’t always get them right.

This isn’t a rant about the bankers it’s about the tough decisions we as carers make every day.  The stress of looking after someone 24/7 figures show that Carers are twice as likely to suffer from Depression. I myself suffer from Clinical  Depression I have to take Anti Depressants and still have days when I am very down. I find these days are more likely to happen when I feel I am getting nowhere particularly in relation to  Claire s health and battling the powers that be to get help, where is am labelled a bully for speaking up for my wife or indeed on days where I know that Claire’s pain is bad and I feel powerless to help. This is when I must fight the most I must not turn to the “Dark Side” but it is hard the Anti Depressants help with the chemical in balance but the mood trigger can still be there which is like being kicked in the teeth emotionally.

Now I know I am not the only carer going through this but these are the times you need friends and help from Carers organisations the most. You have to know when you need help there is no stigma to Depression and Stress. I try to do what I can for the See Me charity which campaigns against the stigma of Mental Health. It only amounts to getting posters and leaflets for the Schools and GP Surgeries but if that points at least one person in the right direction of help then I have done something.  Remember there are people to help.

A Message to end Carers Week


This is a Message from my Wife Claire she wanted to share to end Carers Week

“You May Not Believe This But I Count Myself Lucky !

Yes I suffer massive pain, take countless medications, am a prisoner in my own home but I still count myself lucky. I look around at everything that is happening around the world and I could be in many situations that are worse than the situation I am in.

I could live in Syria and be surrounded by civil war; never knowing what is happening day-to-day.

I could be one of our many soldiers or civilian workers in Afghanistan.

I could be living in Iraq, amidst countless car bombings and suicide bombers.

I could be a homeless person anywhere around the world, never knowing when or if I would eat that day or get lucky and get a place overnight in a shelter.

But I am none of those things, I am a person who needs twenty-four hour care and am lucky that my husband gave up his job to become my full-time carer and am lucky that all my children at one point have been young carers for me, at this moment our youngest daughter is filling this post.

I never ever wanted to be this ill and requiring care but I am, and I am extremely lucky.

As Carer’s Week draws to a close, I would like to thank my husband and children but also every unpaid carer whether they are young carers or a full-time carer. We are all lucky and extremely grateful to have you and the outstanding care you give.”

My presentation on “Prepared to Care” To Cross Party Group on Carers at Scottish Parliament


I realize that a number of MSPs and Carers were not able to attend the Cross Party Group on Carers Last Night in the Scottish Parliament So here is the Text of what I said in my presentation.

“Good Evening my name is Michael Grieve and I am going to speak to you about being Prepared to care.  

I have been a carer for my wife Claire for about 8 years. It is quite hard to say when I really started being a carer, as my wife’s illness has deteriorated over time.  She suffers from Chronic Pain but it was eight years ago I gave up work as a Programmer Analyst with the Edinburgh Woollen Mill to become a full-time carer. The Chronic Pain she suffers from has become more debilitating and now her loss of Mobility has reached the stage that she currently is stuck in her bed 24/7 so she is only out of bed to go to the toilet. At the moment this is a real struggle for her to achieve but she struggles and fights everyday to do things that you and I take for granted.

I was not prepared for the financial implications of me being a full-time carer having been used to a reasonable income from working full-time.

I was not prepared for having to fight for my wife to get the Benefits that she is entitled to.

I was not prepared for having to see my wife in pain and not be able to do anything about it.

I was not prepared for being called a bully when I stand up for the person I care for.

I was not prepared for the heartache our Children would go through when they see their Mother in Pain.

I was not prepared for the lack of support from friends and family. My Family don’t live near enough to give physical support but the emotional support they give helps immensely.

I was not prepared for having to fight every step of the way.

I was not prepared for how it would affect our relationship however that has not been a negative thing we are closer now than we have ever been. We laugh we joke we get through the day.

I was not prepared for the fact that I would experience that which few fathers have and   be at home and help and guide my children’s growth I am proud of all three of my children they are all doing the most with their education Our youngest Daughter is just starting 5th Year and our Eldest Daughter is in 6th Year. However it is our son who has gone to Abertay University and is a Student Nurse.  His time spent with his mum after leaving School and before going to University had an impact on him which is why he chose nursing.

I have campaigned for or against one thing or another all my life and it was I suppose inevitable that I would become a campaigner for carers.  The profile of Unpaid Carers has been increased over the past couple of years but it still has a long way to go a lot of people and yes politicians among them still don’t get the work that the Millions of unpaid carers do every day.  

There are still people out there who don’t identify themselves as carers we have to reach them and get them over the stigma that being called a carer means that you are an “unpaid skivvy” as one person described how they felt about the term to me.     

I would like to see Carers getting the respect and recognition they deserve not hidden away as a cheap solution to the cuts in health and social care.    

Without organizations like the local carers centers, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Carers (Scotland) I don’t know where the campaign for carers would be. I am privileged to do work with all these organizations and I have not met a group of People more committed to fight for the organizations they represent.

Organizations like the Royal College of GPs are now developing policies on carers and ensuring a greater understanding of the role of carers among GPs.

The Co-op Retail stores have adopted The Carers Trust as their charity of the year and hope to raise £5 Million pound I am proud to be one of Scotland’s Carers Ambassadors and as such go to stores and help them understand what carers do and provide a local contact for events and support.

However the fight continues there are new carers every day and I will continue to fight for them not to go through what I and many others have.  Clare Lally and I have developed and online presence in the form of a Blog and are both shocked and pleased at the great response it has received.  Posts may be in fits and burst but we hope to have “Guest Bloggers” to speak of their experiences.    

My whole outlook on life has changed since becoming a carer I believe for the better when you have to spend your time thinking of someone else and putting their needs before your own it makes you realize that some of the small things in life don’t really matter.

I believe that yes there are negative impacts on your life at the moment when you become a carer but the benefits you can get can far out weight them.

 

Thanks for listening.”