Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Carers with Attitude
Just back from a carers meeting where we 'discussed' the cuts. General feeling is a bit odd - they can't really believe all this is happening to their sons/daughters. There were odd sparks of anger, and a general feeling that we needed to do something to stop it. They want to speak to the managers and politicians directly but I think they're finding it hard to come to terms with the enormity of what these cuts mean for their own children.
When you go through the detailed cuts they say things like "... but they can't cut that, he won't be able to get to the doctors..." "... but that means he'll have to be with us all the time and I'm 73 ..." "... but she needs that to pay the rent, so how's she going to stay in her house ...". They're not really angry just yet - they don't really believe it. They (and me) can't believe how anyone could do this to a vulnerable, disabled person.
I know these cuts are real rationally, but when you're a carer, your horizons get pulled in and the circles you move in have lots of disabled people in them. They're your world, but outside, most people go to the pub or a football match or work, and there aren't lots of disabled people in their faces all the time. I mentioned Mobility Allowance to someone outside the 'disability world' recently and got the usual reaction - "most of them are scroungers who are just dodging work and cheating us out of our taxes - not your son of course - but most of them". Or another when the local cuts were mentioned "Well getting rid of a load of social workers has to be a good thing". But that isn't what these cuts are about. They're about locking up disabled people in their own homes and taking away the desperately needed care.
The real price of these cuts won't show until a few more carers commit suicide with their children and a few more learning disabled people are found starved in their homes because they didn't have the help to go out and buy food. Then the press will have a lot of 'Isn't this awful' headlines for a day before it goes back to covering the love cheat footballers.
This doesn't have to happen. We need to stop these cuts before they do any more damage. We carers need to get our heads out of the sand and start shouting. We need to stop being the silent, heroic martyrs the press and TV love to wheel out for a nice heartwarming end to the programme. We need to be Carers With Attitude.