Today leading national newspaper in the UK “The Independent” featured my story of caring for my mum (who had early onset dementia) in their dementia supplement to mark World Alzheimer’s Day. It is always a great honour and privilege when a media organisation with such a big platform features a story about you, especially for someone like me who isn’t a celebrity or in the news much.
My wife asked me a question last night asking if I liked being in the news for caring for my mum, which I thought was a very interesting question. It’s a tricky one for me because I didn’t care for my mum just so I could get recognition afterwards and I don’t want to be seen as a hero for doing something that I did because I thought it was the right thing to do. I don’t want anyone to think I am showing off or craving the attention that being featured in newspapers like this gains you. There are however many reasons why I like being in the news for caring for my mum and the book that I wrote about our story.
The first reason is I think that people who give up their lives to care for others need to be celebrated more, not only in the press but in our communities as well. Caring for someone is an amazing thing and as worthwhile, if not more worthwhile than a lot of people who get featured in the press on a regular basis for being a ‘celebrity.’ By celebrating carers it will encourage more people to become carers and make carers feel better about themselves, which can only be a positive thing.
There are so many carers out there who go unnoticed and many who are reluctant to share their stories and it’s because of these people that I feel it is important that I share mine. I am quite media savvy, I am confident and am an ok writer, which makes it very easy for me to share my story. When I share my story with others, always in my mind are those that are going through tough times currently caring for others. My goal with my book that I have written is to help others and hopefully make someone else’s life a bit better, I keep that same goal in mind whenever I am speaking to the press or other organisations about my story.
The hope I have is that many people will read my story and be impacted by it. That they will be moved in to action and that it will help them in some way. As the population of this world continues to grow older I believe more and more will need to be ready to care for someone, so the best thing I can do to make a difference is help prepare as many people as possible.
I’m not a hero, I’m not a celebrity, I’m just an ordinary person like you but I think it is the ordinary everyday folk that make this world tick and are the ones who are doing amazing things without being noticed. The power to change this world isn’t just with the headline makers; it is with you and I.