Elaine is 76 years old and has been caring for her 79-year-old husband Michael for the past ten years.
Michael has had a stroke, and he also has epilepsy, diabetes and prostate cancer.
Before his stroke, Michael was very active and the couple, who married 25 years ago, would be out and about doing lots of activities.
“He was fantastic. He would do anything for me. Now I feel like I have lost my husband. It is very difficult.”
After his stroke and spending ten weeks in hospital, Michael was allowed home but he could no longer care for himself. Elaine had the option of giving up work to care for Michael herself or finding a care home where he could be looked after. Elaine decided to care for Michael at home.
The couple is supported by their local Carers Centre. They were able to refer Michael to a weekly workshop for brain injured people. Elaine receives respite twice a week but takes Michael to his workshop. She also attends a peer support group for carers.
Elaine feels strongly that there is not enough support for carers.
“I hate the fact that carers have no-one to turn to. I like to go to places and speak up for them.”
Although Michael uses a wheelchair, the couple go out every day. Elaine describes her role as being like Piccadilly Circus at 3 am in the morning. “Our time clock never stops. We never clock off.”