When I hear that the government is advising schools to be sensitive to the needs of 'young carers' and give them the time off from their education so they can look after mum, I just want to scream. I strongly believe parents have a responsibility to be parents regardless of how incapacitated they are.
Just as it is cruel to deprive the elderly of food or medication, it is cruel to accept the current state of social isolation. We could ask why these lonely people's families are not more involved or go down the Chinese government route of 'forcing' people to visit their elderly parents but the reality is that people are naturally occupied with making a living and raising their own young.
I would define a personal assistant as someone independent directly employed by a person who is capable of directing them and requires care and/or support tasks to be performed...The person has to be employed rather than self-employed, which has been a bone of contention between myself and the government who believes it does not matter how people are employed.
As part of our #MakeCareFair campaign to end 15 minute care, we have conducted a confidential survey with care workers up and down the country. They have told us it is impossible to carry out everyday tasks such as feeding, bathing and supporting someone to get dressed with any decency or consideration in this short time slot.
Stress is not a new concept, but we live in an age which is constantly creating fresh varieties of angst to add to our mental in-tray. Caring doesn't sound like it should be one of those in-tray items. But when we become 'carers' and the demands are persistent, even relentless, then the challenges mount.
Having a conversation may not seem like a luxury, but there is a point when it can become too late to talk, and you just never know if or when that point may come. I would hazard a guess that the vast majority never had a full and frank discussion with their loved ones about dementia, their wishes for care and their future planning.
When we think about our wellbeing, we think of avoiding major diseases, being financially comfortable, enjoying our daily lives and achieving our goals. Often we never stop to consider those invisible yet vital qualities of support, understanding and love that are provided by the people we keep close to us.
Informal kinship carers have to date been a largely 'hidden population' who take on a huge burden from the state in providing care, often at very little notice, for children who would otherwise end up in the care system. I know, after a career spent in delivering services to children and their carers.
I was just 12 years old when my father began to exhibit the symptoms of what we discovered 10 years later was vascular dementia. My twenties weren't about university life, all-night parties and angst with boyfriends, they were about supporting my dad to have the best life he could, just as he had supported me as a child.
The moral imperative to root out ageism in the NHS now has legal backing, following the recent expansion of the age-related provisions of the 2010 Equality Act to include services. All public sector organisations must eliminate unequal treatment on the grounds of age. But where do we start in cancer care?