Barry has been a carer to his wife, Mary for over three decades. Mary was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when they were engaged. His role has changed over the years from husband to full-time carer and in 2000, in his early 40s, he gave up work due to illness related to working and caring.
During the time in which Barry has been caring, Mary has undergone 29 major surgeries, had four strokes and three episodes of sepsis. She is now paralysed from the chest down and requires high levels of care.
At several points along his caring journey Barry has had massive frustrations from the stresses and strains of doing too much and not asking for help when he needed it.
Barry’s contact with Dorset Council’s adult services team has been vital in helping him receive the support he has needed over the years. This has included organising a sitting service allowing him a bit of respite from his caring role. They also encouraged Barry with his voluntary work at a local charity.
Along with self-funded carers, Barry’s caring role is made easier by assistance dog, Oscar. Not only will Oscar help with tasks such as removing laundry from the washing machine but he’s a companion for both Barry and Mary too.
Barry is a strong believer that a service such as Carer Support Dorset can only be of benefit to unpaid carers like him and he wishes something like this was in place when he first began caring all those years ago.