A Carer In Sepia
Yesterday I received my completed Carers assessment prior to it being presented to Panel. This was following my request for an extra night’s respite.
God, it was depressing reading. I’m not blaming the social worker at all. I know that she’s appeared before enough Panels to know that to even get a sniff of a successful outcome, she has to present the carer’s life through the bleakest lens. Despite the framing, I’m grateful to her for giving a slight possibility that the Panel’s money men might say yes.
Who am I according to the report? I’m old. I’m worn out. I’m lonely. I’m unfulfilled.
Of course, there is some truth in that. But my life is more than that. There are good bits (honest). The thing that upsets me the most is the inference throughout the report that I’m old, worn out, lonely and unfulfilled because of Steven. The tone is always that he is a burden and without that burden, my life would be a cabaret, old chum. In order for the system to maintain its pretence, caring has to be seen as a burdensome duty. A job. Love doesn’t come into it. That’s the thing about social care – blaming is never very far away.
To succeed at Panel, you can only look one dimensionally at the Carer’s life. Aspirations are low. A coffee morning with fellow carers at Age UK. If you’re really lucky, you might get the funds for a one off pampering day. A cartoon carer.
A good Twitter friend counselled me last night by telling me that the assessment is their story, not my story. My upset is because of my expectation that the assessment would describe my reality. He’s spot on. A carers assessment is not about reality. It’s a dance. A dance that you have to learn the steps to pretty darned quickly.
What’s the alternative? The Care Act goes on about well being. Trouble is, well being is in the eye of the beholder. Carers can’t be trusted to establish what constitutes their own well being. Panels probably have well being templates.
Why did I ask for the reassessment? To try and get some time for decent sleep. If I get awarded the extra £65, I won’t be off gadding about. I won’t be at night school. I’ll be in bed catching up on some sleep. Legal peeps tell me we could try a legal challenge on the grounds of sleep being a human right. I appreciate the intent but that’s a bit like using a steamroller to crack a walnut. Have we really come down to rights and well being can only be achieved through expensive court cases.
I dunno the answer. In the meantime, cross your fingers. I might get Panel on a good day and £65 may be coming my way. I won’t feel less lonely. I won’t feel more fulfilled. I might feel more awake.
From → Social Care