Dorothy Cook, 65, has been caring for her husband Melvin, 76, for two years. Melvin has the brain condition ataxia, which has affected his walking, balance, muscles, swallowing, and speech.
Despite struggling to find a care package to support Melvin’s complex needs, Dorothy is determined to take care of him by herself.
However, she acknowledges that some days it feels like it is too much to handle.
Dorothy says that the shortage of carers is enormous and has never gone back to pre-COVID levels.
With an estimated 165,000 vacancies in the adult care sector in England, the government’s focus remains on the NHS.
Dorothy proudly tells the interviewer that her husband is a former electrical engineer who helped design the nose prototype on Concorde.
The brain condition has robbed Melvin of the body he knew, and he is unable to communicate clearly without prompt cards.
Despite this, Melvin is aware of the burden his needs are putting on his wife. He tells her, “One day at a time,” bringing Dorothy to tears.
Wendy Brown, 73, understands the emotional toll caring for a loved one can take.
Wendy and her family tried to look after her 97-year-old father-in-law Arthur as best they could, but eventually, they couldn’t cope.
Wendy says she battled to get carers for a long time. She believes that months without help led to repeated medical emergencies for Arthur and three stays in the hospital.
Latest figures from Skills For Care suggest that 10.9% of social care jobs in England are unfilled, including jobs as carers.
Over the last year, vacancy rates have been the highest since records began a decade ago.
The lowest recruitment levels are in domiciliary care, which means carers who work in people’s homes.
Professor Martin Green, the chief executive of Care England, says that successive governments have been told how to solve the problem of the shortage of carers.
The government insists it “backs” social care, but critics say that there was no mention of the sector in this week’s budget.