One in ten people in Sheffield is a carer and three in five people will be carers at some point in their lives. This page is dedicated to carers telling their story to help others in a similar situation realise they are not alone and encourage people to come to Sheffield Carers Centre if they need support. If you would like to send us your story email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note the names in this story have been changed to protect the identify of the family.
You can also view a short video in which some other carers speak about their experience of caring and of what the Carers Centre has done for them.
Please click here.
“The Carers Centre is a shining light for all those who are looking after someone”
Sheffield Carers Centre has and continues to be an invaluable service to me. In 2013 and just turned 40 I never dreamed I’d have to pack in my job and become a full time carer for my husband, but it just goes to show you never know what’s around the corner and it can happen to absolutely anybody.
I became isolated and lost confidence and had to manoeuvre obstacles such as the benefits service and mental health services to name a few. Having worked in the caring and support services for some years I was lucky to have some knowledge of agencies and services that could help someone in my position, so finding out about Sheffield carers was second nature, but for anyone who is going through a tough time as a carer, the best advice I can give you is don’t be afraid to speak to people and ask for help. The staff at Sheffield Carers Centre are friendly, helpful and most of all understanding, all of who have, at one time or another, most likely been in a similar position to yourself, and they really can help, no problem too small or too big is too much trouble. I can’t recommend them highly enough. I have even started volunteering for them myself as they are totally flexible with my personal circumstances. Thankyou Sheffield carers centre.
Elizabeth and Ed’s Story
My brother, Tom became ill with dementia in about 2010 when he was 70 years old. His dementia wasn’t too noticeable at the time but following the death of his wife in 2013 he swiftly deteriorated. They had been married for over 50 years and he was absolutely devoted to her so we knew her death from cancer would hit him hard. I should state at this point that my brother had always been a lovely man, very humorous and kind. He was the oldest sibling in our family of ten children and we all loved him very much.
Tom’s two children were unwilling to care for their father and wanted to put him into a home after his wife died, but following a family meeting of his siblings, our younger brother, Ed, decided to become his full time carer as Tom was still very active and physically fit, albeit forgetful and confused most of the time. Ed took on caring responsibility for Tom in 2014 and moved in with him so he could provide 24/7 care, which by now Tom definitely needed.
Dementia is a dreadful disease and it really began to take hold of Tom in 2014. His personality began to change significantly and Ed, even with help from the rest of the family, was beginning to find his Carers role very difficult. Tom became sexually inappropriate when women were present, he began to run away, he became, spasmodically incontinent, and worst of all he became violent at times towards Ed.
It was about this time we heard about Sheffield Carers Centre through Jobcentre Plus on West Street, where Ed still had to go even though he was a full time Carer. Without great expectations we made an appointment and Ed, Tom and I went along to talk our situation through with the team. IT WAS THE BEST DECISION WE HAVE EVER MADE. When you’re at the ‘sharp end’ so to speak, it is difficult to be able to see further than the immediate care of the person suffering with dementia. Being wrapped up with the problems Tom was creating (which he couldn’t help) you tend to forget the ‘carer’ and Ed was totally at his wits’ end.
In 1996 Ed had broken his back when working as crew on a yacht, and does, through this injury and the subsequent surgery suffer severe arthritis. Whilst trying to prevent Tom running onto the road, Edward had fallen down a long metal staircase, which exacerbated his back and hip problems. Tom had also struck him with a golf club whilst he was hallucinating and Ed was having to sleep in front of the door to prevent Tom wandering off in the night.
The staff at the Carers Centre were unbelievably helpful. They were totally aware of the difficulties Ed was having and talking through his problems was really therapeutic for him. They weren’t only a sounding board which Ed desperately needed, they offered constructive advice and also led me and the rest of the family to realize how much caring for Tom was impacting on Ed’s health.
A carer receives a pittance for the work put into looking after somebody with dementia and Ed had no spare funds for anything other than day to day living. The Carers Centre gave Ed £200 to spend on himself on a short break etc. which was wonderful. It wasn’t just the money, the Carers Centre made Ed realize how valued he was and they were there for him when he needed support and advice. The £200 enabled Ed to get away for a couple of days. We gave the Carers Centre the receipts for the money spent on Ed’s little trip, which is a very good idea as it ensures the recipient does spend the grant on him/herself.
We continued to get support and advice from the Carers Centre throughout Tom’s illness, they advised us on Social Services and care homes, we couldn’t have done without their help, they were wonderful. Sadly, Tom died in November 2015 but the story doesn’t end there.
Ed is now paying a great personal price for the loving care he provided for our brother. His arthritis is extremely bad through the falls he experienced and through having to lift and carry Tom about as his dementia progressed. He also suffers from severe depression because he could not come to terms with Tom having to eventually go into a care home and he took Tom’s death very badly. He was convinced that had he been able to cope better he could have kept Tom at home longer. Thank goodness we can still count on the support of the Carers Centre for Ed. They are aware that there is an ongoing impact on a carer’s health following the death of their loved one and they feel their responsibilities for support don’t end when a carer loses their ‘patient’.
The Carers Centre are a shining light for all those who are looking after someone with either dementia or another illness/disability. We have relied on their good counsel and help for years now. Goodness knows what carers in Sheffield will do without them, we as a family certainly cannot thank them all enough.
“Don’t be afraid to speak to people and ask for help”