K101 Tma01

Describe the difficulties and rewards of being a carer for a family member.
Illustrate your answer using examples from Unit 1

The term ‘carer’ relates to anyone ‘who looks after a friend, family member or neighbour who needs support due to sickness, age or disability’ (Directgov, 2006). Using the Unit 1 materials, the experiences of Ann Walker, 37 (who took on the care of her stepfather Angus McPhail, 79, on the death of her mother), the parents of the disabled young Asians (Hussein et al. study 2002), and experiences from within my own family’s experience of caring, I shall describe and give examples of both the difficulties and rewards of being a carer for a family member.

In the UK 6 million people - around 1 in 8 adults - provides unpaid support to an ill, frail or disabled family member or friend; their work saving the government £119 billion per year in care costs (Carers UK, 2012). Governments are rightly interested in carers for this reason, recognising that any reduction in informal care has massive implications for public expenditure (Laing, 2005, p. 4). The UK is one of the few countries in the world to have recognised the vital work of family carers officially (1995 Carers (Recognition and Services) Act ) and to have strove to find ways to enable carers to carry on.

Many people become carers feeling they have no choice in the matter. Ann became Angus’ carer for three main reasons, she was a woman and therefore in the majority with 58% of carers being women (Office of Population Censuses and Surveys, 2001) (Carers UK, 2012); she was already sharing a home with her parents when her services became needed, and, she had made a ‘death bed’ promise to her mother to take care of her father. There was no discussion about it. When her mother died her family just assumed Ann would take her mother’s place.
In the Hussain et al. (2002) research study (p 11) Tahir’s mother also shows her feeling of lack of choice saying, “They are your children and you...