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Carers Week – Regina's Story

Published on 07 June 2021 09:05 AM

There are 6.5 million people in the UK who are carers. They are looking after a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness or who needs extra help as they grow older. Caring impacts all aspects of life from relationships and health to finances and work. Whilst many feel that caring is one of the most important things they do, its challenges should not be underestimated. Caring without the right information and support can be tough, at Age UK Bristol’s information and advice service we work closely with carers and their families to ensure that they get the support they need.

In the last year and a half, Juliet our Benefits Advice Worker has been supporting Regina and her husband, Thomas.

Regina met her husband, Thomas, 51 years ago when she was working as an apprentice hairdresser aged 15, and he was working as a lifeguard in the swimming pool opposite, they soon started going out together and were married three years later, and joined 10 years after that by their two children.

“We are a very close family, family is everything to us, especially to my husband,” said Regina. Regina and her son now provide round the clock care for Thomas who for the last 18 months has been living with extremely complex health conditions which has led to him being paralysed down the right side of his body.

“Me and my son do everything for Thomas, from showering him to putting toothpaste on his brush. Being a carer is hard but whilst we can manage the two of us we do. Although my husband suffered some brain damage and sometimes struggles to get his words out he absolutely knows what’s going on and I know my husband wouldn’t want outside carers coming in.”

Both Thomas and Regina are registered as disabled and had been receiving Personal Independence Payments (PIP), however, following Regina reaching eligible pension credit age at 66, Thomas' benefits were cut without warning and at the same time, the couple also received notice that they had to pay council tax when previously they hadn’t had to. They contacted Juliet at Age UK Bristol for advice.

Juliet was able to support Regina and spoke to Bristol City Council and Pension Credit to rectify the issue and after 5 months of worry and stress, the couple’s council tax bill was cancelled and their Pension Credit was reinstated.

“To say they are helpful is an understatement,” said Regina. “I honestly couldn’t have done without Age UK Bristol.  In my experience it truly does pay to ask for help, there were benefits we were entitled to that I would have had no idea about if it wasn’t for them.”

If you would like support from our Information & Advice team call 0117 929 5353 and leave a message. Someone from our Advice Team will call you back.