In our lifetime 3 in 5 of us will become a carer. We will take on caring duties such as washing, dressing and feeding another person. We will change our habits, our routines and even our lifestyles to accommodate the needs of someone else. More importantly, most of us won’t see ourselves as carers at all. We’ll see ourselves as husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, grandparents and grandchildren and family friends who are just looking after the ones we love.
That’s why every year, Carers Week put on a Parliamentary reception and invite MPs to come and celebrate normal people who do extraordinary things. With over 120 MPs RSVPing to the event from across the political spectrum this year, the Parliamentary reception offers MPs the chance to hear from carers and find out first-hand about some of the highs and lows of caring. It is only by hearing what a typical day might look like that politicians can begin to understand what carers face.
Reginald is one such extraordinary person and this year, we have invited him along to meet MPs and tell them his story. He may not see himself as a ‘carer’ but that makes it all the more important that organisations like us are here to give him, and others like him, the information and support they need to help them in their roles.
84 year old Reginald lives with his wife Mary and after she had her operation, Reg (as he likes to be known), took on lots of the responsibilities around the house. He does the shopping, the cleaning, and general housekeeping. Mary still does the cooking, he says.
Reg says Mary is a proud woman who doesn’t want to be a burden on anyone. She had carers for the first few weeks after coming out of hospital but sent them away soon after. She wants to be as independent as she can and relies on Reg to help her with the things she struggles to do.
Theirs is a common story. Two people, supporting each other, caring for each other and getting by on their own.
As Reg talks to MPs he, and many other carers, will bring a human aspect to the facts and figures that we’re used to seeing. Nothing is more powerful than hearing something from the source, and politicians and organisations alike would do well to take heed.
The Carers Week Parliamentary Reception will be taking place on Monday 8thJune 2015 between 2pm and 4pm.
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