Not another bloody hand massage! #CarersWeek

Are emergency department nurses offered free hand massages to entice them not to resign from their stressful jobs?

Or speech therapists, office administrators, housekeepers. No? Well why are little ‘treats’ like these expected to satisfy family carers who fulfil all the above roles and more, for little or no financial reward?

The week beginning June 10th is National Carer’s Week, and the role of the 370,000 family carers in Ireland will be acknowledged and highlighted, and thanked by a grateful nation who will then mostly leave them alone for another 12 months to get on the with their essential work with very little support.

Society still wants us to be saints, and if you look at the smiling kindly faces of carers in publicity photographs, that’s the image they are receiving.

Not photos of exhausted, resentful, angry carers with stained clothes and greasy hair. Or children juggling homework with changing nappies.

You see carers are not a homogenous group. Some feel privileged, some feel burdened, some feel it’s a private matter, some feel they have no choice.

Some care for a few years for an elderly parent, others face a lifetime of caring for one or more disabled children.

Some have plenty of support, financially and physically, with reasonably good services, as well as help from family and community, who live in suitable accommodation and who enjoy respite allowing proper breaks from caring and even holidays. Some are in situations so dire that they feel suicidal at times.

There are carers of all ages: Children who care for parents or siblings after school, perhaps missing out on activities and friendships.

Men and women who give up their careers to care for disabled children or elderly parents.

Partners of older adults who cope with the declining health of someone they’ve loved all their lives.

All make sacrifices, some willingly, some reluctantly. Few are truly acknowledged for what they do, or given the support to ensure that they and those they care for, can lead good lives.

My wish list this carer’s week would be for a tailored support plan for every family with regular reviews that could include services such as real respite, an end to means testing of benefits, suitable housing or adaptations, counselling services (in home if necessary), and future planning. What’s on yours?

As for me? If I have any free time this week, I won’t be getting a free hand massage. Instead you’ll find me at the gym, trying to work off the anger I feel about how carers are treated.

Happy Carers Week!

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15 thoughts on “Not another bloody hand massage! #CarersWeek

  1. I totally agree that living someone else’s life is not fun . You need to constantly on your toes for the next call . You don’t just wake up one morning and decide you want to be a Carer it just happens without warning ⚠️
    And telling me how nice I am or offering me a biscuit won’t cut . However I do look for the positive in my life and sharing theses thoughts and moments with the one I love keeps me going
    And yes I hope others will support and supply a better service then what’s available because if not there won’t be Carers in the future it’s a dying bred and rightly so
    Carers are individuals who take on responsibility for another person because of love our government uses that sentiment and turns it into financial gain . So unfortunately I am the one who needs and would like a hand massage because it’s free and at least I feel recognized this week so thank u Carers and hello fellow Carers from all over the country this week I recognize you too

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment, and if I hadn’t just spewed this out over breakfast, I would have put in that I know that many carers do appreciate little treats like hand massage, and I hope you get the chance to enjoy one this week. More than most you really deserve it, and thanks again for everything you do xxx

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  2. Well said Candi as always. Those Stock Photos make me sick. Good for those who can take the time and energy to look well and care for their own health. Caring comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be as you say parent for child/ child for parent / sibling for sibling. But what happens when caring for a child / adult child is added to by the need to care for an elderly parent? Unless they are living in the one house a horrible choice has to be considered. Who do you care for? How? With what? People are so quick to comment in hospital ‘imagine it’s her Mother wouldn’t you think she’d take her home and care for her’ or there are more situations now where siblings have emigrated and the Carer pool has virtually dried up. The government don’t even know nor do they care about these situations. Mind you I wouldn’t say no to a hand massage anyway – hands are in a right state from these fighting gloves.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s a crisis waiting to happen. Where are the stories of carers who have burned out or died of exhaustion and left the people they cared for without carer? What happens then?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. All you say is so true & I completely agree.
    All I want is my young people to be properly supported and enabled to do everything they want to and achieve everything they want to. This would have the knock on effect of allowing me to be able to do some of the things I would like to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh this is so true. The things offered to carers are all very nice, hand massage, hair trim, yoga trial, family day at local Botanical Garden but what if you can’t get to these events? Although they are free to carers, I would have to pay for a carer to be at home to do the caring whilst I was out which means these little perks are not free. I doubt I ever looked happy, smiling and perfectly made up as per the literature. Once again this year I wrote to my MP to ask him to attend the Carers UK event in Parliament and once again I received a lovely letter informing me of the funds being injected into health and social care, about Green papers and White papers and about the work being done to try and connect a very disconnected service and oh yes, the reason that he would not be able to attend the Carers UK event. Rant over and yes I totally agree with everything you have written xx

    Liked by 1 person

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