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Hello I’m Anna and I rely on help from Adult Social Care.
When I left the care of my parents and moved in with Mr Tree Surgeon, six years into my M.E. journey, a dream came true. I had flown the nest, but that momentous story is for another day.
Despite this incredible ‘against-the-odds’ milestone, I was not able to live an independent life. Both of our mums were relied upon to help me run a home and take the pressure off Mr Tree Surgeon who runs his own business and works a ridiculously physical job. It didn’t do much for my self-worth and the sense of guilt was huge. Help was ever-so gratefully received, but it came on an ad-hoc basis and often when things had gone too far and piled too high.
In October 2016 I called my local Adult Social Care team, on the verge of tears, desperate for a proper, permanent solution. I didn’t want much! And I didn’t think I needed personal care as such. Just a ‘Girl Friday’ to be an extension of myself. Now in August 2019, I’ve had a ‘Personal Assistant’ or Support Worker as we prefer to call it, for two years. The difference it has made to my health and my life is incredible.
The relationship is worlds apart from having a friend or relative come to help. It is a business transaction. My Support Worker is paid to come and help me, at regular times and on specific days. For me, this help is fully funded by my local council. I have been lucky enough to have the same employee throughout. A local charity handles my Direct Payment for me, paying wages, sorting National Insurance and Pension contributions and generally having my back as I navigate life as an Employer. I couldn’t do it without them; my cognitive function cannot be trusted with such important things.
I am well enough to write this today, all in one go, because my Support Worker has been to do the household tasks that I either cannot possibly do, or that I cannot possibly do without it having a negative impact on my physical health. Washing is drying on the line, the dishwasher has been emptied, beds have been changed, cheques have been paid in at the bank, floors have been hoovered…
I have a tiny bit more of a life because of this invaluable help.