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Foothold’s carer stories – Sue’s 18 years supporting an engineer

My name is Sue and I’m a full-time carer. At the start of my carer journey, I got a call asking if I would be interested in looking after a paralysed gentleman who needed 24 hour support. I said yes.

When I started caring for Richard he was in a very sad state of mind – he was dealing with so much. I knew Foothold supported Richard. But at the time I didn’t realise just how important it would turn out to be for both of us, and I don’t think Richard did either.

I can honestly say I would not have still been looking after this amazing man if it weren’t for the little things from Foothold that have made life so much more comfortable for us both in different ways. They have enabled Richard to live a full life, going to see shows in London, eat out with friends and visit countless stately homes over the years.

 

Living life to the full

Richard thought his life would consist of staying at home, with the occasional trip outside. I know he didn’t think he’d ever go on holiday in the UK again, let alone abroad. The financial burden would be too much. We discovered that Foothold offered a holiday allowance for this very situation. It was a massive step for Richard to trust me enough to go on holiday with him. At first it was little steps, but now the sky’s the limit!

But before even thinking of planning a holiday, we needed a portable hoist. There was no way I could manage transferring Richard from his wheelchair without one. Malcolm from Foothold, who helped Richard for years before he retired, said he could approach Foothold for help. Foothold did get us the hoist and wow, how that changed Richard’s and my life! We have now been on 4 cruises, South Africa, Germany, France, Holland, even visited the pyramids in Egypt (one off Richard’s bucket list) and travelled all over the UK with the continued support from Foothold.

Richard also gets an allowance every year to help with his general household maintenance costs. He lives with a C3/4 spinal cord disability. But he doesn’t have to deal with the added financial worry now of how he would get a washing machine repaired or a broken door fixed, for example.

I never thought I would be still here, as a carer for Richard after 18 years. It may not work for everyone, but it does for us. We are both very happy, content people and enjoy life to the full. This hopefully will continue post-pandemic, in no small part thanks to the help of Foothold.

 

Caring for carers

I work very long hours and try and go on my own adventure holidays twice a year. But I can never just have a day or a weekend off, as I work week by week. I now know that Foothold is there to help for those little breaks for me and carers in similar situations, if needed.

I try and keep myself very fit and go to regular Jazzersize classes. Every year they have a weekend away, but I could never go because of my caring duties. Now, once we’re done with Covid, I’ll have that chance to go, thanks to Foothold. I can’t wait!

Foothold is there to help you too. Don’t feel guilty for asking. Richard did in the beginning, and as I said to him so many times, Foothold is there to help. When you become a member of the IET you may never imagine that one day you might need support, but thank goodness Foothold is there. I could go on and on, but with the help Richard has received over the years, I think you can see how it has changed his, and therefore my life, for the better.

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