On celebrating the saints and scroungers during Carers Week

Because that’s how the public sees us.

Every story about the selfless middle aged woman* caring for elderly parents and disabled children feeds into the saint narrative, which reaches its peak during Carers Week and the annual carers’ awards. And while I’m very happy for those who win and enjoy the accolade, there are carers like me who find the whole thing a bit patronising: it’s like society feels that all we need to keep going is an annual pat on the head.

No mention of real support, pay for the work we do, pension arrangements for when we are too old to care, or anything that really matters.

The rest of the year we’re painted as scroungers.

Of course keyboard warriors like me were blamed when Leo Varadkar (likely to be the next Irish PM) had to row back on his rhetoric about being a leader for people who get up early in the morning. He had to add in carers, and others. But the genie was already out of the bottle, as the above article shows, giving permission to portray carers as whingy costly parasites, so long as it’s not Carers Week.

I write about my life as a carer, and luckily the words pour out of me head like a torrent: I don’t have to sit down and wonder what to write, instead I find myself jotting down thoughts whenever I have a spare few seconds, often when I’m doing something else as well!

But it is hard to find the time or energy to write when you’re a carer, so there’s very few of us who do, but I’d like to introduce you to two friends of mine. Like me, neither will be attending of the events for carers during Carer’s Week. Because they can’t.

This week is Carer’s Week. There will be a wide variety of events across Ireland for carers to attend – lunches, coffee mornings, walks, pamper events with manicures and massages, nights out with music and dancing – all to celebrate and treat the much deserving carers. But, how many of the nation’s carers can attend? I can’t. I’m housebound while my son is bedridden. I have no one to relieve me so I can go to any of those events.I have no one to relieve me so I can go to any of those events.

Read more at Transitioning Angels

We’re back to no sleep. But with Luca I think he has constipation issues again, he’s back on movicol.

Emmy was supposed to go for a blood test today but no one up to the hour drive there and hour drive home and we’re still a bit under weather so I cancelled the appointment, all I seem to do lately is cancel appointment after appointment

We’ve reached the stage where we get no energy boost at all, just permanemt tiredness and feeling flat, the weather isn’t helping. 

I bought cbd capsules for myself during the week, they should be here today, can’t wait to get started as I’m in a shit heap, constant fibro flare and pains in stomoch from IBS.

Read more at the Spectrum Facebook Page.

Both write about the harsh realities of extreme caring in a world that doesn’t really want to know, doesn’t want to think about it, doesn’t want to imagine that it could happen to them too. Even though it could.

 

*The peak age for caring amongst women was 45–49, with 11.2% of women in this age group providing unpaid care, amounting to 572,680 hours of care every week, according to the 2011 census.

 

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6 thoughts on “On celebrating the saints and scroungers during Carers Week

  1. I hear you. It’s a hard life which you never chose and it could be easier if enough people championed you.
    From my point of view, on occasions I do speak of you to friends of mine. I don’t do it to patronise you or to pat you on the head but I do hope by speaking of what I see you write that I am raising the consciousness in my friends for you and others like you. I couldn’t do that without your blog.

    Like

    1. I wrote this in haste, and it is probably not as nuanced as it could have been. I really appreciate all those people like yourself from outside the disability community who read my posts and tell others about them too x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I read all the links on this post and I agree, it is sort of patronizing when it offers a pat on the head once a year and very little actual help that is useful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As one reader pointed out, carers week does at least raise awareness – but in the past that tended to focus on the carers as saints narrative 🙂

      Like

  3. I totally agree with you. We had Carers Week here too but I couldn’t attend anything, because I’m at home caring, and that’s just how it is. I don’t mind that I couldn’t attend and I hope those that did manage to attend enjoyed it and got something out of it.

    I keep being called a saint for being a carer; I’m not a saint at all. I get impatient, I shout at times, even I’m surprised at words that go through my mind at times. I do what I do because I love them, they need me and it is what I want to do. You are so right, not many folk write about being Carers, you are right again…when do we get time!

    Really enjoy your posts, especially your days out with your daughter, wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

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