Some positive notes


Its been over a week since I last posted and other than some reductions in the swelling in Claire’s legs there is really no change in Claire’s physical health. She is however so much happier to be in the living room as opposed to the bedroom up the stairs. We are still no further forward in getting a “Hospital Bed”. This would make life so much easier as the bed she is using is very low.  So need to get one Not sure how to yet. The doctor has not been in touch either considering they referred Claire to the hospital I would have thought they might have wondered is she still had the symptoms which by the way she has.

I am enjoying Claire being down stairs its just a case of working out a routine sometimes takes us a while when there is a change. We are getting there though. Its great spending so much time with Claire as not only is she my wife she is my best friend and I didn’t realise how much I had missed just being able to sit and watch TV with her.  Being able to do this again has helped us both so much.

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.

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

Mr G’s Salon


My wife Claire has started her own Blog at Speaking up for those that have unpaid Carers but when I read her latest post I  managed to get her to let me post on here as I find it quite amusing and hope you will too.

My husband has learnt to do so many new things since my illness began, he is now, of course perfected the art of laundry, got fed up of my love of washing dishes, so we acquired a dishwasher. The art of folding and hanging his laundry to such a perfect degree, that my second love, ironing, is hardly ever required.

Mr G’s cooking in all reality beats mine hands down so damn much. His soup making, stews, roasts, bread making and to top it off his bloody jam making skills, make me so damn jealous.

His hunting down bargains while shopping also beat mine I am ashamed to admit. Unless he shops with our eldest daughter, his weekly shopping means I can actually save money!!

Now he has yet again excelled at another new talent, Mr G to my utter and total amazement, not only cut my hair, he managed to thin it quite a bit also.

Although he has amassed all the above new talents, his biggest and best new talent his being an unpaid carer. He finds this a shock that he is able to care for me. I however never ever doubted he could do this, as I have always trusted in him and please believe me that I have total respect in every unpaid carer.

Take care.

Mrs G.

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.

How I keep sane


There is a short story called the Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. Perhaps there should be a story about the Loneliness of the Unpaid Carer.

If you are not careful being a carer can isolate you from the outside world. I care for my wife Claire who due to chronic debilitating pain is stuck in her bed we live in a 2 story house and don’t have a stair-lift  She is in the bedroom all the time unless there is a need for her to come down the stairs for an appointment. So when she manages to sleep which can be during the day

You have to cancel things at the last-minute so friends tend to stop inviting you. However I have found a way to keep sane and active and have what I hope is a positive effect on both my own local community and the wider community of my fellow carers and indeed the public in general.

I didn’t set out to do what I did it just sort of happened. I joined Facebook and got involved in Carers Campaigns. and the rest is History as they say.

Having to fight for yourself and the person you care for on a daily basis is great help when you campaign on a local and a National Level. Being able to fight for other people give me an outlet to fight and gain the successes at a higher level when you don’t always get them for yourself.

If I can help one person cope with being a carer or seek help when they need it and felt it would be a weakness then that is what I want to achieve.

I want to raise awareness not only of carers as a whole but of the people they care for.