IT is Carers Week and the Dorset Echo is taking an in-depth look into the world of the tens of thousands of known unpaid carers in the county.
Three in five of us will become a carer at some point in our lives, providing unpaid care to someone we know who is ill, frail or disabled.
By providing unpaid care for someone they know, they save the economy an incredible £120billion every year.
Caring is being there for a loved one facing ill health or disability and often many people don't at first identify themselves as carers and can often miss out on support.
Today we take a look at what life is like for a full-time carer from West Dorset who looks after a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.
IT’s the ‘everyday stuff’ like having a meal which makes caring for a loved one so difficult, says a full-time carer living in Sydling St Nicholas.
Ann Wilson, 81, has been caring for her husband Donald for almost six-years.
The 82-year-old former architect and lecturer was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and since then the couple’s lives have turned upside down.
Mrs Wilson told the Echo: “Each person with Alzheimer’s or dementia behaves or reacts quite differently and also deteriorate at different paces.
“Donald doesn’t talk very much now and he used to give a three-hour lecture with no notes. He doesn’t do anything for himself now.”
She added: “I didn’t think I’d be spending my life like this- we had plans to visit his children in America.
Other difficulties the couple experience include getting down the stairs, into the car and financial concerns.
She added: “You are always waiting for the next thing to happen. The physical strain is the worst: He is six foot tall and I have to wash and dress him.
“I’ve had the bed and sofa raised to make life easier.”
She said: “People don’t know how to handle people with Alzheimer’s, they say they will come round to help but they don’t. Dementia and Alzheimer’s should not be shunned- that’s what I want to get across.
“It is the everyday stuff like having a meal that is difficult- you are always thinking about another person.”
The dedicated wife praised the services in Dorset including the Shared Life Scheme and a Dorchester day centre, which have helped her to take up hobbies which include running a bridge club.