To mark Carers Rights Day we have a story of wife and carer Trudy Pile. Trudy cares for her husband Mark, who suffers from amblyopia, a rare, hereditary condition that has worsened over time. Trudy left her full time job as a civil servant to look after her husband. We shared Mark’s story yesterday – click here to read it.
45-year-old Trudy from Bath, Somerset, is one of 6.5 million unpaid carers living in the UK. The couple previously received little emotional or practical support until they found the Blind Veterans UK charity.
Blind Veterans UK offers free services and support to vision-impaired ex-Service men and women and their families. The charity also provide emotional support and a wide range of equipment and social activities through its UK-wide network of welfare officers and community services and service centres in Sheffield and Llandudno, North Wales as well as its centre in Brighton.
Before Mark became a member of Blind Veterans UK my caring role was more like a nurse maid. I would have to be with him constantly and watch over him all the time for his own safety. It was very isolating as I did not have any time to meet friends even simple things like going shopping was stressful as I was constantly worried about Mark being at home whilst I was not there etc.
Everything I did was for Mark and I neglected my own health and wellbeing. I put on loads of weight and had high blood pressure but I didn’t matter as Mark was the one who was suffering.
Things have changed drastically for the better since becoming involved with Blind Veterans UK. With all the training Mark has received he has regained some of his independence back, which enables me to have some well earned me time. I am able to leave him at home and meet my friends again or go shopping without having to worry so much. I have joined a local slimming group and lost over a stone and a half and along with this my blood pressure has settled down.
Also while Mark was at the Brighton centre for his training I went with him and had a holiday which we haven’t had for years he would be with the staff working and I could just relax in the swimming pool or just be lazy and read some books. I have also had the opportunity to meet other wives who also care for their loved ones and have made a few good friends with some of them. It is good to just be able to talk to them as we have the same things in common.
Although I have not had any physical help from Blind Veterans UK myself, by giving Mark his confidence and independence back this means he will now go to events by himself which enables me to have a break from my caring role knowing that he is safe and being cared for.
Blind Veterans UK have given me my husband back so I thank them immensely. Click here to tweet this quote!
Independent research estimates that there are 68,000 plus blind veterans who are eligible for the charity’s services but are not currently aware of the opportunities and support available.
Blind Veteran UK’s No One Alone campaign is calling for more to be done by NHS healthcare professionals to improve referral pathways to the charity so that veterans are signposted to support as a matter of course once they are diagnosed with severe sight loss.
If you know someone who served in the Armed Forces, including National Service, and is now battling severe sight problems, Blind Veterans UK may be able to provide them and their family with a lifetime’s practical and emotional support for free.
For more information people can call freephone – 0800 389 7979 or go to www.noonealone.org.uk