I’m a Carer: hear me roar

A wounded lioness shows her teeth in the Assyrian Lion hunt (British Museum)

Do carers not count as ‘real people’ unless they turn out to have teeth? 

Yesterday I blogged about the horrifyingly dispossessed situation of us family carers (see Let down. Again. Have we really nothing better to do than wait?). How -not entitled to pay, holiday, pension, or any usual worker benefits -we’re clearly not even entitled to respect for our time and our independent lives from Social Care departments. Even though though comparatively well-paid social care departments are wholly reliant on us family carers working our  168hour weeks for nothing.

What you don’t pay for you don’t value, eh?

(The meeting, incidentally,  would provide huge benefit to MsF and me and cost the Social Care department not a penny. So, cynically, it’s no biggie for the social worker if she can’t be bothered to turn up, is it? Its only we who suffer the consequences! )

When I wrote about this incident I mentioned that I had a ‘secret weapon’: my identity when I am not Ms F’s mother and fulltime carer. And this identity was a piece of very unwelcome news to the department in question.

Late yesterday afternoon  I returned home to a third call from the person covering for the absent manager of the absent social worker who had let us down. Poor woman, what a short straw to have drawn.

I made it very clear that whilst any apology to me and MsF was welcome, I wasn’t going to accept the excuse of ‘miscommunication.’ It takes more than miscommunication to cancel consecutive meetings at such short notice -especially when you still manage to find the time to get a third party to do the cancelling for you. It takes disinclination, discourtesy and sheer bloody disinterest in your client.

I pointed out it was one thing to behave like this to  MsF because Ms F was supported by me, and I am articulate and forceful and still have teeth. And even then, I am a woman who has worked over 58 years of European Working Time Directive weeks in the 14 calendar years since the Millennium.Let’s face it, I’m actually pretty close to being on my knees.

So then, what about all the other carers in just my situation- and there are thousands– who have not got my gift of the gab? Not my instinctive reaction of rage? Who are that one step further – finally on their knees, beaten down, and in desperate need of help and support?  Who will help them ?

Surely the primary objective of any social worker should be to fulfil their employment compact with the vulnerable and disadvantaged people they are employed to help? The more dispossessed and beaten down and vulnerable we carers are, the more we need to view the social worker – at the very least – as being ‘on our side.’?

Would you say folks that this is generally the case? Not  this time

Carers – sign up to the Carers Virtual Strike on 21 June. Show everyone – social workers, as well as bankers – that family carers MATTER . Yes, folks, we really matter, in the real world, and our time is quite as important as yours..

Sadly, not every lion can cope with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune forever..

Sadly, not every lion can cope with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune forever..

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