Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/639/10287
From The Socialist newspaper, 22 September 2010
I saw this report the other day: "Former cab driver kissed his 100-year-old mother on the cheek and said "sorry" after stabbing her to death". The man, aged 62 and suffering from depression and the onset of the degenerative Parkinson's disease was jailed for six years after pleading guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.
The article mentioned he'd been his mother's main carer. In view of her age I suspect he'd looked after her for her quite a long time. I wonder how much support he received. In my experience (I've cared for my mum for six years) being the main carer means doing 99% of the caring.
There's very little help available. I was offered three hours 'respite' a week, with the option of paying for extra hours. I get paid £53 a week. We got approval for a bathroom conversion but in the end family members paid as it takes six months for applications to go through.
Yet I still count myself lucky as my mum is funny, tough, has all her wits about her and a brilliant sense of humour. We also share the same views and interests.
Imagine what it's like looking after someone who is difficult, disturbed and irrational or who has constant physical needs? We've been told there's "extra help" in the "last six to eight weeks" but in the absence of a crystal ball we don't know when that might be. Hundreds of thousands of people - many of them children or elderly themselves - are 'main' carers.
How must this man have felt knowing that he was becoming ill and incapable himself? I read somewhere that the NHS budget would double if people like us stopped providing care. There's a lot of talk about giving carers more recognition. This includes the occasional award from the media. Perhaps they'll have a Big Society medal? It makes my blood boil, especially where children are involved.
Carers are not saints but the frantic act of that sick man was a sign of despair. Perhaps he won't find prison too bad. He was already in a kind of prison - trapped in his mum's dependency on him and a system that offers no respite or support. And as the cuts loom large, the question arises - whose responsibility is diminished?
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In The Socialist 22 September 2010:
Brutal bosses? Time to fight back!
Birmingham: Solidarity with council workers
Socialist Party youth and students
Stop the higher education lock out!
The Student Socialist:: Issue 8 £1.50
International socialist news and analysis
For a 24-hour all-Europe general strike
Spain: class struggle the biggest show in town
Kashmir: An eyewitness to oppression in the valley
'Death of democracy' in Sri Lanka
Socialism 2010 - a weekend of discussion and debate
Socialist Party news and analysis
Countering the Con-Dem government's offensive
Stroud says no to BNP media centre
Bosses want workers' pensions axed
Trade unionists challenge Lib-Dems
CNWP extended steering committee meeting
Socialist Party workplace news and analysis
The sorry saga of Corus steel
Ex-Jarvis workers face more attacks
Tyneside Safety Glass: Stop the decline to the minimum wage!
Workplace news in brief
Fight every Con-Dem cut
Hastings demo against attacks on union officials
Organising to save jobs and services
Determined, widespread union action needed
Why London firefighters oppose 'reforms'
23 October march against cuts: RMT calls London demo
Socialist Party feature
The beauty industry: out of control?
Socialist Party campaigns
Coventry 'one-stop' protest
Building the anti-cuts fightback: Local campaign launches
Save Southampton Libraries
The Socialist 22 September 2010 |
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