Why Can It Be Difficult to Decide Whether or Not a Person Is a Carer, and Does It Matter?

The government’s definition of a carer is ‘someone who looks after a friend, relative or neighbour who needs support because of their sickness, age or disability’ (K101, Unit 1, p.16). This essay will look at the reasons why it is difficult to determine whether or not a person is a carer, and will also explore whether this matters.
To answer the questions detailed above I will be using the case study of Ann and Angus by Joyce Cavaye (2007, quoted in K101, Unit 1, p. 14). Angus McPhail, aged seventy nine has Parkinson’s disease and is currently cared for by his stepdaughter Ann Walker. Ann became Angus’ carer when her mother died, and as she and her family were already living at her parent’s house she was the ‘perfect’ candidate. Ann performs many tasks for Angus which include personal services, such as washing and toileting, administering his medication and assisting him with physical activities, for example climbing the stairs.
Deciding whether someone is a carer can be difficult as the circumstances are often complicated and uncertain (K101, Unit 1, p.19). According to the researchers Parker and Lawton (1994) Ann would be identified as a carer because she carries out many tasks for him, as described in the previous paragraph. However there are four complicating factors that make it much more complex to decide whether or not she is. The duration and frequency of Ann’s caring duties need to be counted according to the Government; she must care for Angus for at least thirty-five hours per week to qualify as a carer (K101, Unit 1, p. 19). Ann does in fact carry out her caring duties for this amount of time, sometimes more as Angus’ condition worsens. Applying this complicating factor to the definition of a carer would not change the decision.
The term ‘carer’ is a label but to be eligible for support both the carer and the cared for need to accept this label (K101, Unit 1, p. 20). This complicating factor is what may cause a stumbling block for Ann and Angus...