Women’s Week: What’s it like to be a woman caring in Suffolk today?

Councillor Caroline Page. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Councillor Caroline Page. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Caroline Page is known to many as the county councillor for Woodbridge but its not the only job she holds.

Caroline Page is known to many as the county councillor for Woodbridge but its not the only job she holds.

Caroline is also a carer both for her daughter and her elderly mother.

For Caroline there is no such thing as a typical day for a carer in Suffolk, though she believes that Suffolk’s demographics make the job harder.

“Everyone has a different experience. [Carers] cover such a wide range of people.”

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“I think it might be worse in Suffolk than other places because the demographics of Suffolk is such that caring is seen as something happening by old people to old people.

“The whole concept of the parent carer is perhaps not recognised.”

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“Its likely to have a great impact on your health.

A great impact on your finances, on your life expectancy and on your mental health.”

“I’ve had epilepsy and chrome’s disease.”

The latter of the two conditions took a long time to diagnose Caroline says because of her status as a carer.

“A carer cannot be ill. That is really terrible, isn’t it?

“What do I do if I am?”

Caroline is particularly concerned about the different effect caring has on women when compared with men.

“When a woman is my age, she has a one in two chance of being an unpaid carer. For a man it’s 75. Which means he will have finished his earning life. “

For Caroline this is creating a nation of financially unstable women.

“That is a tremendous burden which the state belies on women, and it is largely women doing to save the NHS the care bill.”

“I think that is very unrecognised.”

The results of this difference are quite stark for Caroline.

Caroline believes that as a result women lose out on careers and pensions.

“It really is disgraceful.”

For Caroline there is still a stigma to being a carer in the modern day, one that people fail to address until they find themselves in a similar situation.

“If I say I’m a carer people immediately say I’m a winey, silly person.

“Anyone could become a carer tomorrow and the moment they are they suddenly realise quite what it is.”

“It could happen to you.”

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