New guide will help unpaid carers deal with relationship issues

Jane Clarke who cares for her husband, John, who has Alzheimer's. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Jane Clarke who cares for her husband, John, who has Alzheimer's. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

A new guide to help unpaid carers deal with relationship issues has been produced, which recognises the sometimes difficult position of looking after someone close to you.

Jane Clarke who cares for her husband, John, who has Alzheimer's. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Jane Clarke who cares for her husband, John, who has Alzheimer's. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

The online handbook, from organisation Norfolk Carers, works on the basis that people may find it hard to think of themselves as a carer, and they often don't seek help until they reach crisis, with relationships inevitably affected.

And it is something Jane Clarke, 70, wishes she had when her husband 76-year-old John was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2010.

'When we first had the diagnosis we thought it was the end of the world,' Mrs Clarke said. But the Hellesdon couple have taken the positives from the situation and taken advantage of the many support groups available to meet new friends and try new things.

'We've met so many nice people. John absolutely loves singing, so we really enjoy the Come Singing group in Costessey. We also go to the Pabulum café. There are some lovely people who go there. John has good days and bad days, so getting out can really help,' she said.


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Mr Clarke said when he was told he had Alzheimer's, it 'frightened the life' out of him, and although he had a number of conditions it was the Alzheimer's which affected him the most.

'I used to be able to do everything,' said Mr Clarke, a retired cabinet maker. 'But now I feel useless.'

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But the pair, who celebrated their golden wedding anniversary this month, said it did not feel like Mrs Clarke was a carer.

'I'm just his wife, it's what I do,' Mrs Clarke said. 'He tells me every day he loves me and says thank you for a lovely day. I'm very lucky. We've always been there for each other.'

But she did say she would encourage anyone who became an unpaid carer to reach out for help.

'Of course we have our problems and it can be frustrating, but we love each other,' said Mrs Clarke.

Jo Phillips, from Norfolk Carers, added: 'It's surprising how many people don't realise there is a service in Norfolk to help unpaid carers. We offer a range of services which can help with many of the issues they face.'

For more, call 0808 808 9876, or to access the guide visit www.relationships.carers.org

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