Who’s caring for Scotland’s senior carers?

Next week we will launch our summer fundraising appeal at Leuchie House. This is something we do twice a year to provide a focus for support for Leuchie.

As well as helping to raise essential funds, these appeals allow us to highlight key issues affecting the people we work with.

The subject of our latest appeal is one we have become increasingly concerned about - Scotland’s growing army of senior carers.

Age UK estimate almost one in ten people over the age of 85 provide unpaid care and this is set to double over the next 20 years. 

To highlight the reality of this situation, our latest appeal focuses on Dorothy and Robert - a mother and son team who have been coming to Leuchie for occasional short breaks since 2016.

When Robert was diagnosed with MS, it was just him and his mum. So Dorothy did what any loving mother would do and took on the role of unpaid carer for her son.

That was 24 years ago. Dorothy is now 94 and Robert is 68.

Dorothy told us: “At home I’m still responsible for all the shopping, cleaning, cooking and laundry. I worry about what would happen to Robert if I were to fall ill or hurt myself.”

Before they discovered Leuchie, they hadn’t had a holiday for years because they couldn’t find anywhere that could provide the care Robert needs.  Dorothy explained to us the difference her breaks at Leuchie make: “It gives me a rest and some peace. It also helps me carry on by having something to look forward to.” That’s something we hear all the time. Caring can seem like a relentless struggle. If you know you have a short break coming up, it can help you keep going.

With her own health issues now, Dorothy still has no option but to keep on caring.

So as Scotland’s local authorities work on implementing our new Carers Act, at Leuchie House we appeal to them to ensure the hundreds of thousands of Scots in a similar position to Dorothy get their support to have the breaks they need.

Mairi O'Keefe, Chief Executive, Leuchie House. Published in The East Lothian Courier, 5 July 2018.

To read more about Dorothy & Robert's story, click here.

To support our summer appeal and help us to help more carers get the breaks they need, click here to make a donation now. Thank you.