Elaine is 66 years old and has been caring for her 69-year-old husband Michael for the past ten years.

Elaine's story

Michael has had a stroke, and he also has epilepsy, diabetes and prostate cancer. 

Before his stroke Michael was very active and the couple, who married 20 years ago, would be out and about doing lots of activities.

He was fantastic. People used to say that he thought I was the only person in the world. He put me on a pedestal. He would do anything for me. However, we did have a hard life, but we were happy. Now I feel like I have lost my husband. It is very difficult.

After his stroke and after ten weeks in hospital, Michael was allowed home, but was a very different person. He could no longer care for himself and she had the option of giving up work to care for him herself or finding a care home where he could be looked after. She took on a caring role and the additional responsibility.

The couple are supported by their local Carers Trust Network Partner, through which Michael is able to attend a weekly workshop for brain injured people. They clean up donated tools which are then sent to the third world.

Elaine receives respite twice a week but takes Michael to his workshop. She also attends a peer support group for carers.

Elaine says the support for carers is despicable and that she had a breakdown as a result of demands of payments for Michael’s care. 

I hate the fact that carers have no-one to turn to. I like to go to places and speak up for them.

Although Michael uses a wheelchair, the couple go out every day. Elaine describes her role as being like Piccadilly Circus at 3am in the morning.

Our time clock never stops. We never clock off.

* Identities and photos of carers have been changed in the interest of privacy.