Simon is in his 60s and returned from Spain to care for his elderly mother when she was diagnosed with advanced dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and could no longer care for herself.
After 28 years of living away from the UK Simon rented a bungalow and moved his mother in with him.
He is now her full-time carer. This means he cooks, cleans and helps her with things like getting in and out of the bath.
“The thought of becoming a carer or retiring had never crossed my mind. I was busy working in the food and wine industry and enjoying it.”
Having lived out of the country for such a long time Simon initially found the care system difficult to navigate. It also meant that he hadn’t established the sense of community he would have done had he been living here for many years.
“I was really out of touch with how to get some help. It can also be a little isolating where we live.”
Simon says the saddest thing is having a conversation with his mother because she doesn’t remember things.
“Occasionally I show her old photos and talk to her about them. And she does enjoy and appreciate food, so that is one thing we can share.”
Simon is now receiving support from his local Carers Centre along with other local charities.
“This gives me access to funds which enables me to purchase respite care. This means I can get a break and go out.”
Simon’s local Citizens Advice has also helped him to get Carer’s Allowance which he was initially denied on the basis of having been away from the UK for a while.