Dying matters to carers
This week is dying matters week, the week will be used to highlight the importance of having conversations with our close family members and friends about what we would like when we are at the end of our life, and how we would like to be remembered. We are encouraged to get ‘our house’ in order and to fulfil as much of our bucket list as we can.
For carers dying is something that is often on their mind. Not as many may assume about the death of the sometimes very sick person they are caring for, although yes of cause this can be real worry for some; overwhelmingly carers worry about their own mortality. This is not because they want to fulfil their bucket list of a bungee jump or running a marathon they do the equivalent of this every day in their caring role. It’s because their overwhelming concern is about the person they care for.
‘What will happen to the person I care for if something happens to me’
‘I just want to live long enough to care for them until they die’
‘Maybe it would be better if went together I wouldn’t have the worry then about leaving them vulnerable in this difficult world’
‘I would like to be able to keep them at home for as long as possible’
Those of us that work with or have relatives who are carers hear these statements regularly. I wanted to take the opportunity this week to encourage carers to look after themselves and for commissioners, service managers and policy makers to make it easier for carers to attend vital appointments and participate in social activities that keep them well. Carers would never dream of not taking or missing an appointment made for the person they care for, yet too often they miss, or just don’t get round to making their own.
It is not selfish to put ourselves before the person we care for, in fact it is vital. In order to care for someone we need to care for ourselves first so we are fit and well to care for as long as we are able or wish to; remember the line
‘What will happen to them if something happens to me?’
Well the better care we take of ourselves the less likely it is that something will happen to us.
Dying well does matter, but for carers especially living well matters even more.
Louise Marks is Dementia Policy and Development Officer at Carers Trust
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