Great Yarmouth carer Allan Blyth’s emotional plea for others to get help looking after loved ones
Archant © 2017
A carer who supports his sister has made an emotional plea to urge other men in his situation to get support.
Allan Blyth, 71, has been caring for his sister Patricia “Patsy” Blyth, 81, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, since 2014.
In 2012 the pair moved from Hemel Hempstead, near London, into a flat overlooking the sea in Great Yarmouth.
Sadly, it was not long before Ms Blyth’s health deteriorated.
After the diagnosis Mr Blyth became his sister’s carer. He said it was particularly difficult being a brother having to perform personal care.
The strains of being a carer is tough, Mr Blyth said. “It was like being in prison, that’s what it felt like,” he said. “If you wanted to go out you couldn’t.
“It was not viable. Patsy needed that care and I was the only one that could do it.”
Last year he started getting support in the home but this was limited to a few hours a day. Now Ms Blyth lives in a care home a five-minute walk from their flat. Mr Blyth visits on a daily basis.
“My life is back to when I was 21. I can stay in and watch TV if I want, or walk out the door at 4am in the morning.”
He has recently taken advantage of support from a Norfolk Carers walking group as a form of respite.
He added: “It is something I like doing, so it’s nice to do it in a group. I really would encourage any men to just go out and have a walk.”
His sister’s care costs nearly £1,800 per month and feels the system penalises hard-working people who have saved all their lives.
He would like to see a system of universal care. “Patsy and I have worked hard to live where we want to live and then someone goes ill and they want to recoup all the money back,” he said.
“We have already paid taxes on the house and on our income – where’s it all gone?”
For more on working in care, see our special supplement in your EDP on Monday. Norfolk Carers is the funded organisation to support carers in Norfolk, delivered through the charity Norfolk Carers Support.
Call the advice line on 0808 808 9876.