At 93, I am still my son’s sole carer | Letter

Despite having severe health problems of her own, Barbara MacArthur cares for her disabled adult son without help, and feels abandoned by the UK’s broken care system

Right now our broken care system has been decimated by coronavirus. For instance, at the age of 93, I am still the sole carer for my 66-year-old autistic, diabetic and asthmatic son, who has learning difficulties. He lives with me and is recovering from the after-effects of sepsis, including having to wear a catheter. I love him to bits, but the continuous years of strain and the fact that more cutbacks mean that there is even less help available than ever makes me wish I could have the opportunity at times to be lonely.

I am partially sighted, hard of hearing, arthritic (ankylosing spondylitis) and hypertensive, with partial paralysis in my left hand, a heart murmur, etc. You name it – we’ve got it!

All our friends and relatives are dead. We live in what has become a student area, mainly transient young foreign students who are mostly away at present. I cannot walk, but have managed with a three-wheel stroller to get around the corner some days to shop at Tesco, because the man who used to shop for us temporarily has got his job back. Now it is too much for me because of the ankylosing spondylitis, a fairly recent heart attack and the after-effects of two mild strokes suffered years ago.

When I was in my 60s and 70s I was still caring for elderly relatives for 16 or 17 years, who otherwise could have cost the state quite a lot as they had no money, but they dreaded the thought of going into care so gave up their council flat to live with us. It was hard unpaid work as I was ineligible for carer’s allowance. They both died within a month or so of each other in my home, both in their 90s.

Why my son and I have not been added to the “vulnerable” list is beyond my comprehension.
Barbara MacArthur
Cardiff

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