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.


  1. Wholeheartedly agree - I recall someone wanting to interview me for being the brave disabled parent and I blew up a bit. "I'm not being brave...I'm desperate and I have no choice to do what I'm doing. It's this or starve." Apparently, that wasn't feel-good enough and the interview never took place.

    I think people are so used to the idea of "we live in a democracy" that rights are protected. But they aren't. And the only way to be heard is to not be complacent, but to get angry.

    Good Month before Heartbreak entry...going to do mine in a few days.

  2. Hi Ned, can we schedule this to appear on the main OMBHB blog on friday please? We'll link back to here of course BG Xx

  3. "We need to be Carers With Attitude"

    Time to get the fire extinguishers out.... out for the agent provocateur though!

  4. During the years that I looked after my mum, the council gradually whittled away the amount that they were paying for her. This was done by someone under the grand title of 'income maximiser'. We fell in that middle group where we weren't so poor that we couldn't afford to pay, but weren't so rich that we didn't notice the big chunk that it took out of our income.

  5. Do you know Ned - it was not until reading your post that I realised I am absolutely stupid!

    I have only considered the changes in mobility allowance in respect of how they will alter the lives of the residents in 'my' home - that is, they will become prisoners there and no more trips out unless they are within walking distance; there is not much within walking distance to warm the soul!

    I have never considered same with my own situation. My husbands only income is DLA and I receive the higher component of mobility. It is time I plucked my head out of the sand!

    Anna :o[

  6. Anna,
    I know how easy it is to get blinkered about the impact things like this will have - done it often enough myself. I hadn't realized you were affected so heavily at both ends, but there are a lot of people out there like you who work in the care 'industry' because they're good at it - they have the T shirt at home. Trouble is you're also vulnerable twice as a carer and a job risk even setting aside your obvious concerns for the people you care for at work.

    These cuts really gets me angry - we desperately need people like you in 'care' and we should be applauding and thanking you, not threatening your livelihood. There ase some signs the Mobility Allowance cut is at least getting visible, lets hope we can raise enough noise to stop them implementing it.
    Ned Ludd, carer.

  7. Oya's daughter
    sorry late replying - it's been a bit hectic lately. I agree wholeheartedly about problems with the press looking for just another heartwarming brave carer story. Their referring to my son as a 'little fighter' when he didn't die, really got my goat. In the end we had to have an interview just to get them off our back - they still made their own story up.
    I feel really sorry for Riven Vincent - the press will just be one more pressure she can do without just now.