Carers’ needs must not be forgotten, says wife of man with multiple sclerosis
- Credit: Archant
A loving wife who looks after her wheelchair-bound husband says healthcare professionals must do more to support and understand carers.
Glenys Bright, 59, of Lowestoft Road, Gorleston, believes medical staff must not take for granted the health and wellbeing of people who help their family or friends on a long-term basis.
Glenys, whose husband Keith, 55, suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS), wants to highlight the issue at the start of Carers Week today.
Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges carers face, and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.
Glenys and Keith married in 1996.
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At that time Keith had already been diagnosed with MS, but his condition has deteriorated and he now relies on full-time care from Glenys and staff from Norfolk County Council on a daily basis.
Glenys said: 'Although we get care from the council it is not 24/7,
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'Sometimes at night his legs become knotted and it's very hard for me to untwist them.
'His muscles become extremely tight.
'If he wakes up and needs the toilet I have to help hoist him up, and I struggle to do that on my own.'
Although she is proud to care for her husband, Glenys said she feels overlooked when she and Keith visit hospital or their GP surgery for a check-up.
'I seem to fade into the background, or they [the GP] think I am super-human and expect me to be able to cope with being unwell and caring at the same time,' she said.
'Carers will neglect their own health if they don't feel that the GP is listening to their needs.
'I think the challenge for health professionals is to understand that carers also have their own needs.'
Keith said it was 'heartbreaking' to watch the woman he loves give up other things to look after him all the time.
'To see someone you care about have to drop what they're doing to look after me makes me feel guilty,' he said.
'Glenys is so important to my care. Just having company and someone to talk to is so important.
'I wouldn't be able to cope on my own.'
Despite the difficulties that come with caring, Glenys is proud of the relationship her and Keith have built.
'We care for each other, I suffer from anxiety and he helps me with that,' she said.
'We go to a swing dance club where I can jive with Keith even though he is in his wheelchair. I wouldn't dance with anyone else.'
Are you a carer with a story to tell? Email our health correspondent at firstname.lastname@example.org