Difficulties and rewards of being a carer for a family member

This essay is going to be describing the difficulties and rewards of being a carer for a family member. The people who will be mainly focused on are Ann and Angus. Ann and Angus are based on a family used during research Joyce Cavaye did on carers in 2007. Angus is suffering with Parkinson’s disease, and Ann is his stepdaughter who used to work as a promotions assistant but gave up work to care for Angus. This essay will also look at Mrs Bliss who was studied by Peter Townsend in 1957 in the book The Family Life of Older People.

Firstly this essay will focus on what a carer is. A government website states that ‘the word carer means someone who looks after a friend, relative or neighbour who needs support because of their sickness, age or disability. It does not mean a professional care-worker in a nursing home, for example – or someone employed by a disabled person. ’ (Directgov, 2006) In 2006 it was estimated that there were 6 million people in the United Kingdom providing unpaid support to older, disabled or sick people, and their dedication and commitment saved £57 billion a year. Carers UK, 2006) In 1995 an Act was set up by the government to recognise the work of family carers called The Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995. Having read the case study on Ann and Angus I have found many difficulties of being a carer for a family member. The first example to be spoken about is that it can be extremely emotionally demanding. When looking at the case study of Ann and Angus you can see that Angus relies on Ann to be very kind, patient and cheerful. But Ann suffers with the problem that Bob her husband and Zoe her daughter also need more attention and affection than she can offer to them.

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You can see the effect of this when Bob and Ann argue during the anniversary dinner when Ann is more focused on Angus’s needs than the meal , and the fact that Zoe is having trouble at school and has also recently been diagnosed with dyslexia. As a result of Ann focusing all her time on Angus you see that all of them are taking their frustrations out on Ann. Ann may also find that caring for Angus is restricting. As previously explained Ann had a very successful job as a promotions assistant but she gave up this role to care for Angus, which she enjoyed due to the different people she would meet.

But she felt that giving up her job would make life easier for her, ‘I used to work but gave it up because it put pressure on me. I’d come back from work and I’d be running about and then I’d find that my dad needed this and that and you’ve got to go back out again. ’(Becoming and being a carer, 2010,p. 7) This can also been seen in the study of Mrs Bliss ‘Her youngest daughter did much of her cleaning and washing and during a previous illness lasting ten weeks had left work to look after her’ (P. Townsend, cited in Johnson et al ,p13).

Looking at how being a carer for a family member can be restricting can tie in with how it can also be very isolating. Ann spends a lot of time alone with Angus and doesn’t get much time to herself. Ann has lost her circle of friends because she can’t get out and can’t have them to the house. ‘The ensuing isolation and loneliness seem to be an inevitable part of caring. This has been referred to by other carers as the caring syndrome’ (Cavaye,2006,p. 7) The final difficulty when caring for a family member to be looked at is physical exhaustion.

Ann has regular sleep disturbances, during the night even her Fathers movements will wake her. She also always has something to do for a member of the family ranging from washing Angus to cooking a meal for the family. Although there are many difficulties when caring for a family member it can also be very rewarding. The main reward would be that caring for someone will strengthen your relationship with the person you are caring for. Looking at Ann and Angus again, Ann knows that deep down Angus appreciates everything she does for him.

They also do share some tender moments together. A reward is also that you can prove that you can meet new challenges. The challenges for Ann would be that she had to give up her job and social life to care for Angus and although she is struggling and has now been put on to antidepressants she is proving that she can meet all the different challenges that she is having thrown at her. Looking at strengthening relationships you can see that day after day Ann feels like her life has become a burden, but then all it takes is one good day to make all the bad thoughts to be gone.

Angus does love Ann but he is confused and probably feels very lonely himself so has nobody else to take the frustrations of his new life out on. In conclusion this essay has shown that there are different difficulties and rewards when caring for a family member. In contrast there are many more difficulties than rewards when caring. This was done by looking at difficulties such as how it can be emotionally demanding, restricting, isolating and physically exhausting when caring, and rewards such as proving you can meet new challenges and how caring can strengthen relationships.

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Difficulties and rewards of being a carer for a family member. (2016, Oct 23). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/difficulties-and-rewards-of-being-a-carer-for-a-family-member/