Year of Wellbeing Blog: Michael's story

Everyone has their own story to share about ways they have found to care for their own wellbeing, and the wellbeing of other people.

A team of bloggers have agreed to describe their personal journey. We hope their stories help and inspire others during our Year of Wellbeing.

 

Michael's story...

There are 6.5 million people in the UK who are carers, looking after a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness or who needs extra help as they grow older. A new survey this year suggests one in three carers feel socially isolated, often feeling unable to talk to people around them about their caring responsibility.

Michael is a manager at the Carers’ Trust Heart of England, based in Coventry, and is a carer, too. But that’s not quite how he sees it…

Year of wellbeing blogger michael

I am a carer for my wife, Lorraine. She has spinal muscular atrophy, an aggressive illness that is gradually stealing her physical strength. Lori is wheelchair user and needs professional carers, as well as me, to do many everyday things for her, because she can’t do them for herself. Also, I have muscular dystrophy, a disease that afflicted my father. So I was a carer then, and I’m a carer now.

I have known Lori since we were at school together, aged about 11. She brought me back to Coventry 21 years on, and we married in 2013. Love conquers all!

She is very dependant on people providing care for her. She is in a wheelchair. In the night she might wake up and I have to turn her over, because she can’t do this for herself. At work I am a manager and in the evening I need to switch things over and put on a different hat. But for me it has always been that way. And if you are a carer you need this state of mind. I have to make sure I have that balance.

We have always had to deal with these issues. Me and my sister looked after my mum and dad when we were younger. My dad had muscular dystrophy and my mum had her health issues, too. Lori’s brother had Spinal Muscular Atrophy too and died of a related illness when he was aged 30. But it’s only when I started to volunteer and then later to work for the Carers Trust, that I realised we were carers then, too. There wasn’t any of the support then, that is available now.

Like many carers I don’t see myself as a carer, I see that part of who I am as a duty that I have to do. It really is true that there is always someone worse off than yourself, and I think very often dealing with it is just a state of mind.

That’s how things are for us, and I wouldn’t have things any other way. There’s a saying in Coventry which I haven’t heard anywhere else: ‘It’s just one of them,’ and I think that’s what this is about. You just have to get on with things. I see myself as a husband first and a carer second, and being a carer is just a part of being Lori’s husband.


About the author

Carers Trust Heart of England’s aim is to support carers and those they care for in Coventry and Warwickshire by providing the highest possible quality, individually tailored care support service that improves the lives of carers, the people they care for and their families. Find out more on www.carerstrusthofe.org.uk

 

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